Several neurological disorders such as spinocerebellar ataxias, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease are associated with dysfunction to various brain regions, including the cerebellum. Neuronal properties of the cerebellum correlate with learning and memory processes, via interactions at the synaptic level forming neuronal microcircuits. These neural circuits form self-organized large-scale networks and are eventually perceived as whole-brain activity. Brain regions, including the cerebellum, have representations of internal models, transferring relevant information via their inputs and outputs (D’Angelo et al., 2013). The cerebellum, also known as the little brain, previously known for its role in motor coordination and timing (D’Angelo & Zeeuw, 2008), is now being implicated in autism (Fatemi et al., 2002), ataxias (Tempia et al., 2015), dyskinesia (Narabayashi, Maeda, & Yokochi, 1987), Alzheimer’s disease (Renoux, Carducci, Ahmady, & Todd, 2014) and Parkinson’s disease (Wu & Hallett, 2013). Occupying 10% of the brain volume and approximately 50% of neurons, the cerebellum is categorized into three main computational circuits, namely, the cerebellar cortex, deep cerebellar nuclei, and the inferior olive. Each of these circuits involves a relatively modest number of cell types with synaptic connectivity being highly parallel and modular (Eccles, Ito, Szentagothai, & Szentágothai, 1967).
In this chapter, we discuss perspectives of cerebellum function as well as its interaction with the basal ganglia and thalamocorticalthalamic circuitry. We have included how computational models of individual circuits within the cerebellum give rise to behavioral functions and disease conditions observed in neurological disorders. We further include discussions on multiple levels of analysis as this is important for determining physiological function and upstream and downstream roles during disease states and dysfunction.
|Title of host publication||Computational Models of Brain and Behavior|
|Publication status||Published - 2018|