Timing in the cerebellum: oscillations and resonance in the granular layer

Neuroscience. 2009 Sep 1;162(3):805-15. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2009.01.048. Epub 2009 Jan 31.


The brain generates many rhythmic activities, and the olivo-cerebellar system is not an exception. In recent years, the cerebellum has revealed activities ranging from low frequency to very high-frequency oscillations. These rhythms depend on the brain functional state and are typical of certain circuit sections or specific neurons. Interestingly, the granular layer, which gates sensorimotor and cognitive signals to the cerebellar cortex, can also sustain low frequency (7-25 Hz) and perhaps higher-frequency oscillations. In this review we have considered (i) how these oscillations are generated in the granular layer network depending on intrinsic electroresponsiveness and circuit connections, (ii) how these oscillations are correlated with those in other cerebellar circuit sections, and (iii) how the oscillating cerebellum communicates with extracerebellar structures. It is suggested that the granular layer can generate oscillations that integrate well with those generated in the inferior olive, in deep-cerebellar nuclei and in Purkinje cells. These rhythms, in turn, might play a role in cognition and memory consolidation by interacting with the mechanisms of long-term synaptic plasticity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Cerebellum / anatomy & histology
  • Cerebellum / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Models, Biological
  • Nerve Fibers / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Neurons / classification
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Olivary Nucleus / anatomy & histology
  • Olivary Nucleus / physiology*
  • Periodicity*