Distinct Fastigial Output Channels and Their Impact on Temporal Lobe Seizures

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Despite being canonically considered a motor control structure, the cerebellum is increasingly recognized for important roles in processes beyond this traditional framework, including seizure suppression. Excitatory fastigial neurons project to a large number of downstream targets, and it is unclear whether this broad targeting underlies seizure suppression, or whether a specific output may be sufficient. To address this question, we used the intrahippocampal kainic acid mouse model of temporal lobe epilepsy, male and female animals, and a dual-virus approach to selectively label and manipulate fastigial outputs. We examined fastigial neurons projecting to the superior colliculus, medullary reticular formation, and central lateral nucleus of the thalamus, and found that these comprise largely nonoverlapping populations of neurons that send collaterals to unique sets of additional, somewhat overlapping, thalamic and brainstem regions. We found that neither optogenetic stimulation of superior colliculus nor reticular formation output channels attenuated hippocampal seizures. In contrast, on-demand stimulation of fastigial neurons targeting the central lateral nucleus robustly inhibited seizures. Our results indicate that fastigial control of hippocampal seizures does not require simultaneous modulation of many fastigial output channels. Rather, selective modulation of the fastigial output channel to the central lateral thalamus, specifically, is sufficient for seizure control. More broadly, our data highlight the concept of specific cerebellar output channels, whereby discrete cerebellar nucleus neurons project to specific aggregates of downstream targets, with important consequences for therapeutic interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10091-10107
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number49
StatePublished - Dec 8 2021

Bibliographical note

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  • closed-loop interventions
  • fastigial nucleus
  • hippocampus
  • optogenetics
  • temporal lobe epilepsy


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