<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Explain the relationship between the location of the cerebellum and its function in movement
  • Chart the major divisions of the cerebellum
  • List the major connections of the cerebellum
  • Describe the relationship of the cerebellum to axial and appendicular musculature
  • Explain the prevalent causes of cerebellar ataxia

The role of the cerebellum is a subject of debate. There is an obvious connection to motor function based on the clinical implications of cerebellar damage. There is also strong evidence of the cerebellar role in procedural memory. The two are not incompatible; in fact, procedural memory is motor memory, such as learning to ride a bicycle. Significant work has been performed to describe the connections within the cerebellum that result in learning. A model for this learning is classical conditioning, as shown by the famous dogs from the physiologist Ivan Pavlov’s work. This classical conditioning, which can be related to motor learning, fits with the neural connections of the cerebellum. The cerebellum is 10 percent of the mass of the brain and has varied functions that all point to a role in the motor system.

Location and connections of the cerebellum

The cerebellum is located in apposition to the dorsal surface of the brain stem, centered on the pons. The name of the pons is derived from its connection to the cerebellum. The word means “bridge” and refers to the thick bundle of myelinated axons that form a bulge on its ventral surface. Those fibers are axons that project from the gray matter of the pons into the contralateral cerebellar cortex. These fibers make up the middle cerebellar peduncle (MCP)    and are the major physical connection of the cerebellum to the brain stem ( [link] ). Two other white matter bundles connect the cerebellum to the other regions of the brain stem. The superior cerebellar peduncle (SCP)    is the connection of the cerebellum to the midbrain and forebrain. The inferior cerebellar peduncle (ICP)    is the connection to the medulla.

Cerebellar penduncles

This image shows the cerebellum with the major parts including the peduncles labeled.
The connections to the cerebellum are the three cerebellar peduncles, which are close to each other. The ICP arises from the medulla—specifically from the inferior olive, which is visible as a bulge on the ventral surface of the brain stem. The MCP is the ventral surface of the pons. The SCP projects into the midbrain.

These connections can also be broadly described by their functions. The ICP conveys sensory input to the cerebellum, partially from the spinocerebellar tract, but also through fibers of the inferior olive    . The MCP is part of the cortico-ponto-cerebellar pathway    that connects the cerebral cortex with the cerebellum and preferentially targets the lateral regions of the cerebellum. It includes a copy of the motor commands sent from the precentral gyrus through the corticospinal tract, arising from collateral branches that synapse in the gray matter of the pons, along with input from other regions such as the visual cortex. The SCP is the major output of the cerebellum, divided between the red nucleus    in the midbrain and the thalamus, which will return cerebellar processing to the motor cortex. These connections describe a circuit that compares motor commands and sensory feedback to generate a new output. These comparisons make it possible to coordinate movements. If the cerebral cortex sends a motor command to initiate walking, that command is copied by the pons and sent into the cerebellum through the MCP. Sensory feedback in the form of proprioception from the spinal cord, as well as vestibular sensations from the inner ear, enters through the ICP. If you take a step and begin to slip on the floor because it is wet, the output from the cerebellum—through the SCP—can correct for that and keep you balanced and moving. The red nucleus sends new motor commands to the spinal cord through the rubrospinal tract    .

Questions & Answers

this is muscular system?
Patel Reply
to have a better understanding as to how our human bodies function. the knowledge we gain can improve our quality of life. Without our study of anatomy how could a doctor know what prescription to give us when our bodies is being attacked by a bacteria? We wouldn't!
Robin Reply
discuss nervers system in human being life.
Allen Reply
neuralgia what is other name of it
how are neurons adapted to their function
Namiyaba Reply
machenic support production of blood cells locomotion protection of delicate organs
Ackson Reply
what are hormones?
what is anatomy
Juma Reply
what are the functions of bones
To support and control the movements of the body
the study of human body is called anatomy
the study of human body is nt only anatomy but also physiology and histology
ooops lol I thought Michael was the one with the questions so sorry people. yes anatomy is the study of the body(structure)and it's physiology (functions).
what are the muscles of respiration?
Hi everyone, Why actyl choline decreases blood pressure although it affects adrenal gland leading it to secret adrenaline and noradrenaline which increase blood pressure?
cholinergic receptors are mostly under Parasympathetic response while adrenergic (norepinephrine) receptors are mostly sympathetic although they are cholinergic adrenergic receptors as well
vocal cords
MT Reply
musah was admitted to your ward yesterday with traumatic amputation of the right thump . he complained this morning that he has not passed enough urine. Questions. 1) will you consider his complain to be pathological or physiological?. 2) in less than three sentences, justify your opinion. 3) Apply your understanding of the renin- angiotensin-aldosterone system to explain the factors and mechanisms accounting for his complains.
Ellen Reply
the mineral salt which break up a large portion of bone tissue is
Aurora Reply
please I need help. musah was admitted to your ward yesterday with traumatic amputation of the right thump. he complained this morning that he has not passed enough urine. Questions. 1). will you consider his complain to be pathological or physiological?.
2). In less than three sentences, justify your opinion.
musah copmlan to be physiological because of:-
cholesterol and triglycerides in simplest terms are fats (lipid) found in blood
Roy Reply
calcium is important for bone density and development. it also helps for safe / normal blood clotting, blood circulation to and from the heart, and muscle movement
please undertand me action potential ?
minimum potential that must be overcomed to cause polarization and stimulate a neuronal response( generate impulse)
what is muscle tissue
Rifat Reply
the muscle tissue is one of the 4 basic tissues in our body and is responsible for movement of our body
What Is difference between Ovary and Ovum
ovary is female reproductive organ while ovum is a female gamete formed from ovary
Thank You
What Is Cholesterol and Triglycerides
the mineral salt which break up a large portion of bone tissue
in simple way muscle tissue is responsible for movement of our body.
Hi Be Home Be safe , how are things doing hope all is well
Natarajan Reply
3 longitudinal bands of smooth muscles found in large intestines
what's is sutures
Nimeshka Reply
what would I like to know
Roy Reply
anything u can tell me
anatomy mins
when two or more bones meet.

Get the best Anatomy & Physiology course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Anatomy & Physiology' conversation and receive update notifications?