The Olivo-Cerebellar Circuit as a Universal Motor Control System
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The olivo-cerebellar system is one of the central networks organizing movement coordination in vertebrates. This system consists of three main anatomical structures: the inferior olive (10), the cerebellar nuclei, and the cerebellar cortex. Over the last four decades studies in many laboratories have contributed significantly to our understanding of the electrophysiology of 10 and cerebellar neurons. However, addressing the dynamic properties of olivo-cerebellar network requires information beyond the limits attainable using single cell recordings. Research at the neuronal network level is presently being implemented in order to determine the spatiotemporal activity profiles of ensemble neuronal activity using optical imaging of voltage-sensitive dye signals. We summarize here results of such type of study using the in vitro 10 slices. The dynamic characteristic of the system is addressed using the imaging results as well as mathematical modeling of the network, as a heuristic tool. A computer-based control system based on such biological findings is outlined.