The Cerebellum

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 166–177 | Cite as

Extinction and Renewal of Conditioned Eyeblink Responses in Focal Cerebellar Disease

  • Katharina M. SteinerEmail author
  • Yvonne Gisbertz
  • Dae-In Chang
  • Björn Koch
  • Ellen Uslar
  • Jens Claassen
  • Elke Wondzinski
  • Thomas M. Ernst
  • Sophia L. Göricke
  • Mario Siebler
  • Dagmar Timmann
Original Paper


Extinction of conditioned aversive responses (CR) has been shown to be context-dependent. The hippocampus and prefrontal cortex are of particular importance. The cerebellum may contribute to context-related processes because of its known connections with the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. Context dependency of extinction can be demonstrated by the renewal effect. When CR acquisition takes place in context A and is extinguished in context B, renewal refers to the recovery of the CR in context A (A-B-A paradigm). In the present study acquisition, extinction and renewal of classically conditioned eyeblink responses were tested in 18 patients with subacute focal cerebellar lesions and 18 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. Standard delay eyeblink conditioning was performed using an A-B-A paradigm. All cerebellar patients underwent a high-resolution T1-weighted brain MRI scan to perform lesion-symptom mapping. CR acquisition was not significantly different between cerebellar and control participants allowing to draw conclusions on extinction. CR extinction was significantly less in cerebellar patients. Reduction of CR extinction tended to be more likely in patients with lesions in the lateral parts of lobule VI and Crus I. A significant renewal effect was present in controls only. The present data provide further evidence that the cerebellum contributes to extinction of conditioned eyeblink responses. Because acquisition was preserved and extinction took place in another context than acquisition, more lateral parts of the cerebellar hemisphere may contribute to context-related processes. Furthermore, lack of renewal in cerebellar patients suggest a contribution of the cerebellum to context-related processes.


Cerebellum Eyeblink conditioning Extinction Renewal Lesion-symptom mapping 


Funding Information

This work was funded by German Research Foundation (DFG) grant SFB 1280 (A05) to DT.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katharina M. Steiner
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yvonne Gisbertz
    • 1
  • Dae-In Chang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Björn Koch
    • 1
  • Ellen Uslar
    • 1
  • Jens Claassen
    • 1
  • Elke Wondzinski
    • 3
  • Thomas M. Ernst
    • 1
  • Sophia L. Göricke
    • 4
  • Mario Siebler
    • 3
  • Dagmar Timmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Neurology, Essen University HospitalUniversity of Duisburg-EssenEssenGermany
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, LVR-Hospital Essen, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of Duisburg-EssenEssenGermany
  3. 3.Department of NeurologyMediClin Fachklinik Rhein/RuhrEssenGermany
  4. 4.Institute of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology and Neuroradiology, Essen University HospitalUniversity of Duisburg-EssenEssenGermany

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