Cerebellar inactivation impairs memory of learned prism gaze-reach calibrations

Scott A. Norris, Emily N. Hathaway, Jordan A. Taylor, W. Thomas Thach

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24 Scopus citations


Three monkeys performed a visually guided reach-touch task with and without laterally displacing prisms. The prisms offset the normally aligned gaze/reach and subsequent touch. Naive monkeys showed adaptation, such that on repeated prism trials the gaze-reach angle widened and touches hit nearer the target. On the first subsequent no-prism trial the monkeys exhibited an aftereffect, such that the widened gaze-reach angle persisted and touches missed the target in the direction opposite that of initial prism-induced error. After 20-30 days of training, monkeys showed long-term learning and storage of the prism gaze-reach calibration: they switched between prism and no-prism and touched the target on the first trials without adaptation or aftereffect. Injections of lidocaine into posterolateral cerebellar cortex or muscimol or lidocaine into dentate nucleus temporarily inactivated these structures. Immediately after injections into cortex or dentate, reaches were displaced in the direction of prism-displaced gaze, but no-prism reaches were relatively unimpaired. There was little or no adaptation on the day of injection. On days after injection, there was no adaptation and both prism and no-prism reaches were horizontally, and often vertically, displaced. A single permanent lesion (kainic acid) in the lateral dentate nucleus of one monkey immediately impaired only the learned prism gaze-reach calibration and in subsequent days disrupted both learning and performance. This effect persisted for the 18 days of observation, with little or no adaptation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2248-2259
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • Physiology


  • Adaptation
  • Coordination
  • Dentate nucleus
  • Inferior olive
  • Motor learning


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