The conditioned eyeblink reflex: A potential tool for the detection of cerebellar dysfunction in multiple sclerosis

Liborio Rampello, Barbara Casolla, Luigi Rampello, Marco Pignatelli, Giuseppe Battaglia, Roberto Gradini, Francesco Orzi, Ferdinando Nicoletti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The delayed conditioned eyeblink reflex, in which an individual learns to close the eyelid in response to a conditioned stimulus (e.g. a tone) relies entirely on the functional integrity of a cerebellar motor circuitry that involves the contingent activation of Purkinje cells by parallel and climbing fibres. Molecular changes that disrupt the function of this circuitry, in particular a loss of type-1 metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGlu1 receptors), occur in Purkinje cells of patients with multiple sclerosis and in mice with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis as a result of neuroinflammation. mGlu1 receptors are required for cerebellar motor learning associated with the conditioned eyeblink reflex. We propose that the delayed paradigm of the eyeblink conditioning might be particularly valuable for the detection of subtle abnormalities of cerebellar motor learning that are clinically silent and are not associated with demyelinating lesions or axonal damage. In addition, the test might have predictive value following a clinically isolated syndrome, and might be helpful for the evaluation of the efficacy of drug treatment in multiple sclerosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1155-1161
Number of pages7
JournalMultiple Sclerosis Journal
Volume17
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Keywords

  • cerebellum
  • eyeblink conditioning
  • mGlu1 receptors
  • motor learning
  • multiple sclerosis
  • Purkinje cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The conditioned eyeblink reflex: A potential tool for the detection of cerebellar dysfunction in multiple sclerosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this