Purkinje cell activity in the cerebellar anterior lobe after rabbit eyeblink conditioning.
A pair of studies examined how cortical intracerebellar stimulation (ICS) affects eyeblink conditioning in the rabbit. Rabbits were implanted with chronic bipolar stimulating electrodes in the cell body layers of cerebellar lobule H-VI. Brief (40 ms) trains of intracranial stimulation (100 Hz, 250 microA) were delivered during training trials [forward pairings of a tone-conditioned stimulus (CS) with an air puff unconditioned stimulus (US)]. In Experiment 1, the onset of ICS varied randomly within sessions. US-onset-coincident ICS proved detrimental to the maintenance of conditioning [measured as the percentage of trials on which conditioned responses (CRs) were made] compared to ICS that ended 60 ms before US onset. Based on these findings, a second experiment compared a group trained with ICS consistently delivered at US onset to groups trained with ICS consistently delivered either at CS onset or between the two stimuli, as well as to unstimulated control subjects. Animals receiving CS- or US-coincident ICS learned slowest, whereas animals receiving middle stimulation learned more quickly than all other groups. In both Experiments 1 and 2, highly trained animals produced blinks in direct response to the stimulation. These data are discussed in terms of a new hypothesis concerning interactions between cerebellar cortex and the deep cerebellar nuclei during eyeblink conditioning--a rebound from inhibition hypothesis.