Scope of the thesis
Despite major advances in research, complete understanding of how brain networks work is still an unsolved mystery. In order to decipher the rules governing interactions among neurons and neuronal systems that give rise to behaviors, we need to reveal the basic connectivity and connections starting from synapses.
The cerebello-thalamic connection is historically known for its role in motor behavior, however there is a raising consensus over its involvement in higher functions and even in controlling pathological conditions such as epilepsy. Studying this connection from development to optogenetic control of its activity helped us to characterize better this synapse.
In chapter 2 we focused on the time period during embryonic development when this connection is established to reveal from what point in time cerebellar axons innervate thalamic neurons.
In chapter 3 we then explored the diff erence in the activity of the big glutamatergic CN cells originating from diff erent Zebrin domains in vivo and in vitro in order to elucidate if there are differences in the transmission mode of information based on the input CN glutamatergic neurons receive.
In chapter 4 we questioned whether the cerebellar input from glutamatergic cells of Interposed and Lateral nucleus shows a different impact on thalamic relay cells in Ventrolateral (VL) Ventromedial (VM) and Centrolateral (CL). These findings address the idea that cerebellum do not only influence motor areas (as VL and VM), but also non-motor domains (CL).
In chapter 5 we aimed to test the efficacy of CN-TC stimulation in controlling seizures in epileptic mouse models.
Finally, in chapter 6 we provide an overview of how cerebellar stimulation in animal models are utilized to investigate therapeutic options for neurological disorders, like epilepsy.