The Cerebellum: Not Just an Anatomical Structure
In human, the cerebellum occupies about ten percent of the total skull. It contains numerous cells one of which is the Purkinje cell. Traditionally, the cerebellum is made up of four important types of neuronal cells namely Golgi cells, granules cells, Purkinje cells, and; stellate cells (basket cells). However, with the rapid advances in medical sciences, it is now known that the cerebellum contains many other cells, these includes; candelabrum cells, Lugaro cells, and unipolar brush cells. The fact that these neuronal cells are usually not cited in the standard basic expression of the microscopic anatomy of the cerebellum, or even in standard anatomy, physiology, or histology literatures, indicate that our knowledge of the existence of these cells is fractional (1). Recent microscopic study by Tang et al. (2016) (2) has shown that the cerebellum contains the significant number of neuronal cells and synapses compared with any other structure within the central nervous system. The functions of these wide arrays of neurons are determined by a set of biological stimulus (i.e. excitatory or inhibitory inputs). According to Heshmat (2016) (3), excitatory inputs are generated by many mossy fibers which developed from the pontine nuclei and climbing fibers originating from the inferior olivary nucleus. On the other hand, large inhibitory inputs arise from the Purkinje cells situated in the cerebellar cortex. Observations made from the neurobiology of the cerebellum showed that there is need for integration between excitatory and inhibitory inputs so as to develop the output signal required for the functional integrity of the cerebellum. The inhibitory input from a single cerebellar nucleus is usually opposed by depolarizing potentials in the recipient cerebellar nuclei cells due to spontaneous depolarization activity in the presence of such an inhibitory input (3). Evidences from cognitive studies further suggest that cerebellar pathology may be associated with alterations mainly in mental function, instead of motor processes. These pools of evidences continue to attract a sizeable number of researches into the neuroanatomy, neurobiology and neurobehavioral role of the cerebellum and the theories associated with its functions
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