Cats corticocerebellar units within the anterior vermis are affected by the vestibular input and show directionally tuned responses. The aim of the study was investigating whether a similar representation of labyrinth signals was present in the rat cerebellar vermis by recording units activity during tilt and wobble rotations. The analysis of the neuronal discharge during both clockwise (CW) and counterclockwise (CCW) wobble allowed to determine the spatial (preferred direction) and temporal (response phase) response properties of the recorded neurons. Many units were affected by labyrinthine stimulation. "Bi-directional" units responded to both CW and CCW stimuli, being characterized by a direction of maximal sensitivity (theta(max)), the distribution of which covered all the sectors of the horizontal plane, with contralaterally pointing vectors more represented within the caudal part of the explored region. Differences in the amplitude of the CW and CCW responses indicated that neurons received a convergence of vestibular signals endowed with different spatial and temporal properties, a process that is expected to link their response phase with the tilt direction. Population vector analysis showed that recorded neurons coded both the amplitude and direction of head tilt during different types of rotational stimuli. In conclusion, the present results show that the processing of vestibular signals with complex spatiotemporal properties represents a general function of the mammalian cerebellar vermis, allowing accurate monitoring of head rotational movements (of the head) in vertical planes. Finally, in rats, different cerebellar regions seem to receive specific vestibular inputs.
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