Integrative Center for Learning and Memory (ICLM) Journal Club – Paul Mathews, Ph.D.

April 7, 2023

9:30am – 10:30am


Gonda 1357

“Cerebellar Nuclei Neurons Projecting to the Lateral Parabrachial Nucleus Modulate Classical Fear Conditioning”

Paul Mathews, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor-in-Residence
Department of Neurology
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Gonda Research Center 1357

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Abstract: Multiple brain regions are engaged in classical fear conditioning. Despite evidence for cerebellar involvement in fear conditioning, the mechanisms by which cerebellar outputs modulate fear learning and memory remain unclear. We identify a population of deep cerebellar nucleus (DCN) neurons with monosynaptic glutamatergic projections to the lateral parabrachial nucleus (lPBN) (DCN?lPBN neurons) in mice. While optogenetic suppression of DCN?lPBN neurons impairs auditory fear memory, activation of DCN?lPBN neurons elicits freezing behavior only after auditory fear conditioning. Moreover, auditory fear conditioning potentiates DCN-lPBN synapses, and subsequently, auditory cue activates lPBN neurons after fear conditioning. Furthermore, DCN?lPBN neuron activation can replace the auditory cue but not footshock in fear conditioning. These findings demonstratethat cerebellar nuclei modulate auditory fear conditioning via transmitting conditioned stimuli signals to the lPBN. Collectively, our findings suggest that the DCN-lPBN circuit is a part of neuronal substrates within interconnected brain regions underscoring auditory fear memory.