Deep Cerebellar Nuclei
The deep cerebellar nuclei (DCN) consist of three nuclei: the fastigial (medial) nucleus, the interposed nucleus, and the dentate (lateral) nucleus. Together they form the primary output from the cerebellum. DCN excitatory neurons project to a variety of extra-cerebellar targets, whereas the inhibitory neurons project exclusively to the inferior olive. The activity of DCN neurons is shaped by massive inhibitory input from Purkinje cells in the cerebellar cortex and excitatory input arriving via the inferior olive axons – the climbing fibers – and mossy fiber collaterals carrying information from the spinal cord, the cerebral cortex, and several brainstem structures. Hyperpolarization induced by the inhibitory input actively controls plasticity in the excitatory synapses in the cerebellar nuclei. Overall, DCN neurons participate in local and global feedback and feedforward networks thus generating complex dynamics.
DCN neurons can be divided into three...
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