Cerebello-Hippocampal Interactions in the Human Brain: A New Pathway for Insights Into Aging

Cerebellum. 2024 Mar 4. doi: 10.1007/s12311-024-01670-5. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

The cerebellum is recognized as being important for optimal behavioral performance across task domains, including motor function, cognition, and affect. Decades of work have highlighted cerebello-thalamo-cortical circuits, from both structural and functional perspectives. However, these circuits of interest have been primarily (though not exclusively) focused on targets in the cerebral cortex. In addition to these cortical connections, the circuit linking the cerebellum and hippocampus is of particular interest. Recently, there has been an increased interest in this circuit, thanks in large part to novel findings in the animal literature demonstrating that neuronal firing in the cerebellum impacts that in the hippocampus. Work in the human brain has provided evidence for interactions between the cerebellum and hippocampus, though primarily this has been in the context of spatial navigation. Given the role of both regions in cognition and aging, and emerging evidence indicating that the cerebellum is impacted in age-related neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer's, I propose that further attention to this circuit is warranted. Here, I provide an overview of cerebello-hippocampal interactions in animal models and from human imaging and outline the possible utility of further investigations to improve our understanding of aging and age-related cognitive decline.

Keywords: Aging; Cerebellum; Hippocampus; Neuroimaging.

Publication types

  • Review