What's a cerebellar circuit doing in the auditory system?

Trends Neurosci. 2004 Feb;27(2):104-10. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2003.12.001.


The shapes of the head and ears of mammals are asymmetrical top-to-bottom and front-to-back. Reflections of sounds from these structures differ with the angle of incidence, producing cues for monaural sound localization in the spectra of the stimuli at the eardrum. Neurons in the dorsal cochlear nucleus (DCN) respond specifically to spectral cues and integrate them with somatosensory, vestibular and higher-level auditory information through parallel fiber inputs in a cerebellum-like circuit. Synapses between parallel fibers and their targets show long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD), whereas those between auditory nerve fibers and their targets do not. This paper discusses the integration of acoustic and the proprioceptive information in terms of possible computational roles for the DCN.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Auditory Pathways / cytology*
  • Auditory Pathways / physiology*
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Cats
  • Cerebellum / cytology
  • Cerebellum / physiology*
  • Cochlear Nucleus / cytology
  • Cochlear Nucleus / physiology*
  • Long-Term Potentiation / physiology
  • Long-Term Synaptic Depression / physiology
  • Mammals
  • Mental Processes / physiology