Cerebellar modulation of frontal cortex dopamine efflux in mice: relevance to autism and schizophrenia

Synapse. 2008 Jul;62(7):544-50. doi: 10.1002/syn.20525.


Cerebellar and frontal cortical pathologies have been commonly reported in schizophrenia, autism, and other developmental disorders. Whether there is a relationship between prefrontal and cerebellar pathologies is unknown. Using fixed potential amperometry, dopamine (DA) efflux evoked by cerebellar or, dentate nucleus electrical stimulation (50 Hz, 200 muA) was recorded in prefrontal cortex of urethane anesthetized lurcher (Lc/+) mice with 100% loss of cerebellar Purkinje cells and wildtype (+/+) control mice. Cerebellar stimulation with 25 and 100 pulses evoked prefrontal cortex DA efflux in +/+ mice that persisted for 12 and 25 s poststimulation, respectively. In contrast, 25 pulse cerebellar stimulation failed to evoke prefrontal cortex DA efflux in Lc/+ mice indicating a dependency on cerebellar Purkinje cell outputs. Dentate nucleus stimulation (25 pulses) evoked a comparable but briefer (baseline recovery within 7 s) increase in prefrontal cortex DA efflux compared to similar cerebellar stimulation in +/+ mice. However, in Lc/+ mice 25 pulse dentate nucleus evoked prefrontal cortex DA efflux was attenuated by 60% with baseline recovery within 4 s suggesting that dentate nucleus outputs to prefrontal cortex remain partially functional. DA reuptake blockade enhanced 100 pulse stimulation evoked prefrontal cortex responses, while serotonin or norepinephrine reuptake blockade were without effect indicating the specificity of the amperometric recordings to DA. Results provide neurochemical evidence that the cerebellum can modulate DA efflux in the prefrontal cortex. Together, these findings may explain why cerebellar and frontal cortical pathologies co-occur, and may provide a mechanism that accounts for the diversity of symptoms common to multiple developmental disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autistic Disorder / metabolism
  • Autistic Disorder / physiopathology
  • Cerebellar Nuclei / metabolism
  • Cerebellum / metabolism*
  • Cerebellum / physiopathology
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Frontal Lobe / metabolism*
  • Frontal Lobe / physiopathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Neurologic Mutants
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neural Pathways / metabolism
  • Neural Pathways / physiopathology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / metabolism
  • Presynaptic Terminals / metabolism
  • Purkinje Cells / metabolism
  • Schizophrenia / metabolism
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology


  • Dopamine