Essential neuronal pathways for reflex and conditioned response initiation in an intracerebellar stimulation paradigm and the impact of unconditioned stimulus preexposure on learning rate

Author(s): Swain RA, Shinkman PG, Thompson JK, Grethe JS, Thompson RF


It has been demonstrated previously that pairing of tone CS and intracerebellar stimulation of lobule HVI white matter as the US produces conditioning that is robust and in many ways similar to that obtained with an airpuff US. The first study in this report addressed the effect of interpositus lesions on conditioned performance in rabbits trained with white matter stimulation as the US. It was found that interpositus lesions effectively eliminated the CR irrespective of the behavioral response measured. In addition, it was shown that the interpositus lesions also abolished the UR, providing strong evidence that the effects of the electrical stimulation were confined to the cerebellum and did not require the activation of brainstem structures. The second experiment examined performance on US-alone trials of varying durations. Response initiation within 100 ms of the US onset, regardless of US duration, indicated that reflex generation could not be due to rebound excitation of the interpositus following termination of Purkinje cell inhibition of that structure but instead likely reflects orthodromic activation of interpositus neurons via climbing fiber and/or mossy fiber collaterals. The impact of US preexposure on associative conditioning in this paradigm was also determined. Animals which received only 108 US-alone trials were massively impaired during subsequent training compared to rabbits that received fewer than 12 US-alone trials.

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