Facilitation of temporal prediction by electrical stimulation to the primate cerebellar nuclei

Neuroscience. 2017 Mar 27;346:190-196. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2017.01.023. Epub 2017 Jan 25.


The cerebellum is known to be involved in temporal information processing. However, the underlying neuronal mechanisms remain unclear. In our previous study, monkeys were trained to make a saccade in response to a single omission of periodically presented visual stimuli. To detect stimulus omission, animals had to predict the timing of each next stimulus. During this task, neurons in the cerebellar dentate nucleus exhibited a transient decrement of activity followed by a gradual increase in firing rate that peaked around the time of the next stimulus (Ohmae et al., 2013). In the present study, to address how these two components of neuronal activity contributed to omission detection, we applied electrical microstimulation to the recording site at different timing during the task. We found that electrical stimulation just before the stimulus omission shortened the latencies of both contraversive and ipsiversive saccades. Because the changes in saccade latency non-linearly depended on the timing of stimulation in each inter-stimulus interval, and electrical stimulation just before the early stimulus in the sequence failed to evoke saccades, the neuronal activity in the dentate nucleus might regulate temporal prediction rather than facilitating saccade execution. Our results support the hypothesis that the firing modulation in each inter-stimulus interval in the dentate nucleus represents neuronal code for the temporal prediction of next stimulus.

Keywords: cerebellum; dentate nucleus; electrical stimulation; primate; temporal processing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebellar Nuclei / physiology*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Female
  • Macaca
  • Male
  • Psychomotor Performance*
  • Saccades
  • Time Perception / physiology*