PublicationsFunctional Convergence of Autonomic and Sensorimotor Processing in the Lateral Cerebellum
The cerebellum is involved in the control of voluntary and autonomic rhythmic behaviors, yet it is unclear to what extent it coordinates these in concert. We studied Purkinje cell activity during unperturbed and perturbed respiration in lobules simplex, crus 1, and crus 2. During unperturbed (eupneic) respiration, complex spike and simple spike activity encode the phase of ongoing sensorimotor processing. In contrast, when the respiratory cycle is perturbed by whisker stimulation, mice concomitantly protract their whiskers and advance their inspiration in a phase-dependent manner, preceded by increased simple spike activity. This phase advancement of respiration in response to whisker stimulation can be mimicked by optogenetic stimulation of Purkinje cells and prevented by cell-specific genetic modification of their AMPA receptors, hampering increased simple spike firing. Thus, the impact of Purkinje cell activity on respiratory control is context and phase dependent, highlighting a coordinating role for the cerebellar hemispheres in aligning autonomic and sensorimotor behaviors.