Journal Article Inactivation of cerebellar cortical crus II disrupts temporal processing of absolute timing but not relative timing in voluntary movements

Yamaguchi, Kenji  ,  Sakurai, Yoshio

102016-02-24 , Frontiers
Several recent studies have demonstrated that the cerebellum plays an important role in temporal processing at the scale of milliseconds. However, it is not clear whether intrinsic cerebellar function involves the temporal processing of discrete or continuous events. Temporal processing during discrete events functions by counting absolute time like a stopwatch, while during continuous events it measures events at intervals. During the temporal processing of continuous events, animals might respond to rhythmic timing of sequential responses rather than to the absolute durations of intervals. Here, we tested the contribution of the cerebellar cortex to temporal processing of absolute and relative timings in voluntary movements. We injected muscimol and baclofen to a part of the cerebellar cortex of rats. We then tested the accuracy of their absolute or relative timing prediction using two timing tasks requiring almost identical reaching movements. Inactivation of the cerebellar cortex disrupted accurate temporal prediction in the absolute timing task. The rats formed two groups based on the changes to their timing accuracy following one of two distinct patterns which can be described as longer or shorter declines in the accuracy of learned intervals. However, a part of the cerebellar cortical inactivation did not affect the rats’ performance of relative timing tasks. We concluded that a part of the cerebellar cortex, Crus II, contributes to the accurate temporal prediction of absolute timing and that the entire cerebellar cortex may be unnecessary in cases in which accurately knowing the absolute duration of an interval is not required for temporal prediction.

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