The cerebellum is involved in many motor, autonomic and cognitive functions, and new tasks that have a cerebellar contribution are discovered on a regular basis. Simultaneously, our insight into the functional compartmentalization of the cerebellum has markedly improved. Additionally, studies on cerebellar output pathways have seen a renaissance due to the development of viral tracing techniques. To create an overview of the current state of our understanding of cerebellar efferents, we undertook a systematic review of all studies on monosynaptic projections from the cerebellum to the brainstem and the diencephalon in mammals. This revealed that important projections from the cerebellum, to the motor nuclei, cerebral cortex, and basal ganglia, are predominantly di- or polysynaptic, rather than monosynaptic. Strikingly, most target areas receive cerebellar input from all three cerebellar nuclei, showing a convergence of cerebellar information at the output level. Overall, there appeared to be a large level of agreement between studies on different species as well as on the use of different types of neural tracers, making the emerging picture of the cerebellar output areas a solid one. Finally, we discuss how this cerebellar output network is affected by a range of diseases and syndromes, with also non-cerebellar diseases having impact on cerebellar output areas.
Bibliographical noteFunding The work of the authors is supported by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWOALW; C.I.D.Z.), the
Dutch Organization for Medical Sciences (ZonMW; C.I.D.Z.), BIG (C.I.D.Z.), Medical Neuro-Delta (C.I.D.Z.), INTENSE LSH-NWO
(C.I.D.Z.), DBI2 (Zwaartekracht, NWO [C.I.D.Z.]), ERC-adv and ERCPOC (C.I.D.Z.), Van Raamsdonk-fonds (C.I.D.Z.), 3 V-Fonds KNAW
(C.I.D.Z.), Albinism Fonds NIN (C.I.D.Z.), and Health Holland (TKILSH EMCLSH21017 [L.W.J.B.]).
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