Functional Convergence of Motor and Social Processes in Lobule IV/V of the Mouse Cerebellum

Yuan Hsin Chao, Hao Zhang, Salil Saurav Pathak, Joseph P. Huston, Yi Mei Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Topographic organization of the cerebellum is largely segregated into the anterior and posterior lobes that represent its “motor” and “non-motor” functions, respectively. Although patients with damage to the anterior cerebellum often exhibit motor deficits, it remains unclear whether and how such an injury affects cognitive and social behaviors. To address this, we perturbed the activity of major anterior lobule IV/V in mice by either neurotoxic lesion or chemogenetic excitation of Purkinje cells in the cerebellar cortex. We found that both of the manipulations impaired motor coordination, but not general locomotion or anxiety-related behavior. The lesioned animals showed memory deficits in object recognition and social-associative recognition tests, which were confounded by a lack of exploration. Chemogenetic excitation of Purkinje cells disrupted the animals’ social approach in a less-preferred context and social memory, without affecting their overall exploration and object-based memory. In a free social interaction test, the two groups exhibited less interaction with a stranger conspecific. Subsequent c-Fos imaging indicated that decreased neuronal activities in the medial prefrontal cortex, hippocampal dentate gyrus, parahippocampal cortices, and basolateral amygdala, as well as disorganized modular structures of the brain networks might underlie the reduced social interaction. These findings suggest that the anterior cerebellum plays an intricate role in processing motor, cognitive, and social functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)836-852
Number of pages17
Issue number6
Early online dateMar 4 2021
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant R15NS112964 to YMY, the Winston and Maxine Wallin Neuroscience Discovery Fund to YMY, and the University of Minnesota faculty start-up fund to YMY. We also appreciate the funding support from the DFG to JPH (HU 306/27-3).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC part of Springer Nature.


  • Cerebellum
  • Chemogenetics
  • Functional connectivity
  • Lesion
  • Object recognition
  • Social memory

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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