The cerebellum and basal ganglia are interconnected

Neuropsychol Rev. 2010 Sep;20(3):261-70. doi: 10.1007/s11065-010-9143-9. Epub 2010 Sep 3.


The cerebellum and the basal ganglia are major subcortical nuclei that control multiple aspects of behavior largely through their interactions with the cerebral cortex. Discrete multisynaptic loops connect both the cerebellum and the basal ganglia with multiple areas of the cerebral cortex. Interactions between these loops have traditionally been thought to occur mainly at the level of the cerebral cortex. Here, we review a series of recent anatomical studies in nonhuman primates that challenge this perspective. We show that the anatomical substrate exists for substantial interactions between the cerebellum and the basal ganglia. Furthermore, we discuss how these pathways may provide a useful framework for understanding cerebellar contributions to the manifestation of two prototypical basal ganglia disorders, Parkinson's disease and dystonia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basal Ganglia / anatomy & histology*
  • Basal Ganglia / pathology
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cerebellum / anatomy & histology*
  • Cerebellum / pathology
  • Dystonia / pathology
  • Dystonia / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Models, Anatomic
  • Neural Pathways / pathology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology