Purkinje Cell Activity in the Medial and Lateral Cerebellum During Suppression of Voluntary Eye Movements in Rhesus Macaques

Avila, Eric; Flierman, Nico A.; Holland, Peter; Roelfsema, Pieter R.; Frens, Maarten A.; Badura, Aleksandra and De Zeeuw, Chris I.. 2022. Purkinje Cell Activity in the Medial and Lateral Cerebellum During Suppression of Voluntary Eye Movements in Rhesus Macaques. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 16, 863181. ISSN 1662-5102 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Volitional suppression of responses to distracting external stimuli enables us to achieve our goals. This volitional inhibition of a specific behavior is supposed to be mainly mediated by the cerebral cortex. However, recent evidence supports the involvement of the cerebellum in this process. It is currently not known whether different parts of the cerebellar cortex play differential or synergistic roles in the planning and execution of this behavior. Here, we measured Purkinje cell (PC) responses in the medial and lateral cerebellum in two rhesus macaques during pro- and anti-saccade tasks. During an antisaccade trial, non-human primates (NHPs) were instructed to make a saccadic eye movement away from a target, rather than toward it, as in prosaccade trials. Our data show that the cerebellum plays an important role not only during the execution of the saccades but also during the volitional inhibition of eye movements toward the target. Simple spike (SS) modulation during the instruction and execution periods of pro- and anti-saccades was prominent in PCs of both the medial and lateral cerebellum. However, only the SS activity in the lateral cerebellar cortex contained information about stimulus identity and showed a strong reciprocal interaction with complex spikes (CSs). Moreover, the SS activity of different PC groups modulated bidirectionally in both of regions, but the PCs that showed facilitating and suppressive activity were predominantly associated with instruction and execution, respectively. These findings show that different cerebellar regions and PC groups contribute to goal-directed behavior and volitional inhibition, but with different propensities, highlighting the rich repertoire of the cerebellar control in executive functions.

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Funding: This research was supported by FP7-C7 European Commission, the Marie Curie Initial Training Network ITN-GA-2009-238214, ENW-Klein, ZonMw (VIDI/917.18.380,2018), Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, European Research Council (Advanced Grant and Proof of Concept Grant), Medical NeuroDelta Programme, Topsector Life Sciences & Health (Innovative Neurotechnology for Society or INTENSE), and the Albinism Vriendenfonds Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience.

Data Access Statement:

The raw data supporting the conclusions of this article will be made available by the authors, without undue reservation.


cerebellum, simple spikes, executive control, antisaccades, flexible behavior, non-human primate (NHP)

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29 March 2022Accepted
28 April 2022Published

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Date Deposited:

12 Jun 2024 14:41

Last Modified:

12 Jun 2024 14:46

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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