Cerebellar Control and Adaptation

Cerebellar Control and Adaptation

Researchers: Jonas Dürango, Anders Rantzer and Rolf Johansson in collaboration with Dr. Henrik Jörntell (Div. Neurophysiology, Dept. Experimental Medical Science, Lund University)

Project Leader: Rolf Johansson

Funding: LCCC, Swedish Research Council; Ref. VR 2007-8646;


Cerebellar contribution to motor control and motor learning

The cerebellum is a structural unit of the central nervous system that plays a significant role in motor control and coordination, motor adaptation and the acquisition of new motor skills. It also provides large contributions to cognitive functions such as speech. Rather than initiating movement, the cerebellum influences movement control by integrating sensory signals and cerebral cortical signals related to the movement task at hand, and projecting it back to the motor areas of the cerebral cortex and brainstem. This is evident from studies where cerebellar lesions won't cause
paralysis, but rather by leaving the patient with poorly controlled movements and unable to learn new motor skills or adapt existing movement patterns to new conditions.

The cerebellar cortex is built up from networks of different types of neurons. Purkinje cells act the main output of the cerebellar cortex, and each of these cells recombines information from a vast amount (~200 000) of other cerebellar cells. Each Purkinje cell is also contacted by a single climbing fiber, which is thought to encode information signalling to the cerebellum that an erroneous output is being made, and from this error the connection strengths between the Purkinje cell and the innervating cells are altered. This highly plastic and modular wiring of the cerebellar cortex allows for the cerebellum to adapt its output to better control and coordinate complex movement tasks.

From a control theory point of view the cerebellum can be viewed as an adaptive element contributing to motor control tasks in a larger decentralized control scheme. The aim of this project is to combine recent experimental findings with control theory to gain better insight of how the mechanisms of cerebellar contributions function.




Henrik Jörntell, Per-Ola Forsberg, Fredrik Bengtsson, Rolf Johansson: "Mathematical Modeling of Brain Circuitry during Cerebellar Movement Control". In Yunhui Liu, Dong Sun (Eds.) (Eds.): Biologically Inspired Robotics, CRC Press, Taylor & Francis, Boca Raton, FL, 2012.

Henrik Jörntell, Jonas Dürango, Rolf Johansson: "Stochastic Neural Firing Properties in Neurons of a Cerebellar Control System". In 2010 3rd IEEE RAS and EMBS International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics , Tokyo, Japan, September 2010.

Henrik Jörntell, Per-Ola Forsberg, Fredrik Bengtsson, Rolf Johansson: "Mathematical Modeling of Brain Circuitry during Cerebellar Movement Control". In 2009 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Biomimetics, Guilin, China, December 2009.