Dependence of cerebellar tremor on proprioceptive but not visual feedback

Exp Neurol. 1984 May;84(2):314-25. doi: 10.1016/0014-4886(84)90228-0.


We studied the influence of proprioceptive and visual feedback on cerebellar tremor which occurred after arm perturbations and after voluntary elbow flexions. Cerebellar tremor was produced in monkeys by reversibly cooling through two probes implanted lateral and medial to the dentate nucleus. Cerebellar tremor was synchronized in different trials to torque pulse onset and to the end, but not the start, of voluntary movements. Addition of loads to the handle held by the monkey (increases in spring stiffness, viscosity, constant torque, and inertial load) changed the amplitude and frequency of tremor that follows arm perturbations or voluntary movements in the same way. In both situations EMG activity in each cycle of tremor followed stretch of its own muscle and attained a peak near peak velocity irrespective of the mechanical load. Removal of visual feedback did not alter the characteristics of the tremor or the associated EMG activity. We concluded that cerebellar intention tremor, which occurs when attempting to hold the arm in an intended position, is driven by stretch-evoked peripheral feedback and not by voluntary corrections based on vision.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cebus
  • Cerebellar Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Electromyography
  • Extremities
  • Feedback
  • Movement
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Proprioception*
  • Tremor / physiopathology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology