Gating of cutaneous input to cerebellar climbing fibres during a reaching task in the cat
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1. Task-dependent modulation of cutaneous input to climbing fibres projecting to the C1, C2 and C3 zones in the cerebellar paravermal lobule V was investigated in awake cats during performance of a reaching task. 2. Climbing fibre responses resulting from low intensity (non-noxious) electrical stimulation of the ipsilateral superficial radial nerve were recorded as extracellular field potentials in the cerebellar cortex using chronically implanted microwires. 3. Response size, measured as the time-voltage integral of the evoked field potential, was assessed during three phases of the reaching movement, reaction, reach and grasp, and compared with the response size at rest. 4. At C1 and C3 zone recording sites response size was usually reduced during the task (7/10 sites). The reduction was most pronounced in the grasp phase, occasionally accompanied by a smaller reduction in the reach and reaction phases. In one case an enhancement was found in the reach phase. 5. Response size was also modulated during the task at four of six C2 zone recording sites. However, the results were mixed. In three cases the modulation resembled the pattern at C1/C3 sites with the responses being reduced in the grasp phase accompanied on occasion by a lesser reduction in the reach phase. In the remaining case there was an enhancement during grasp. In this case and one other there was also an enhancement during the reaction phase. 6. The findings indicate significant gating of cutaneous input to climbing fibres projecting to the C1, C2 and C3 zones during reaching movements, while the variability between recording sites suggests functional differences, both between and within zones.