Cerebellum-Cortical Interaction in Spatial Navigation and Its Alteration in Dementias

Pierandrea Mirino, Anna Pecchinenda, Maddalena Boccia, Adriano Capirchio, Fabrizia D’antonio, Cecilia Guariglia

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The cerebellum has a homogeneous structure and performs different computational functions such as modulation/coordination of the communication between cerebral regions, and regula-tion/integration of sensory information. Albeit cerebellar activity is generally associated with motor functions, several recent studies link it to various cognitive functions, including spatial navigation. In addition, cerebellar activity plays a modulatory role in different cognitive domains and brain processes. Depending on the network involved, cerebellar damage results in specific functional alterations, even when no function loss might be detected. In the present review, we discuss evidence of brainstem degeneration and of a substantial reduction of neurons in nuclei connected to the inferior olivary nucleus in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Based on the rich patterns of afferences from the inferior olive nucleus to the cerebellum, we argue that the subtle alterations in spatial navigation described in the early stages of dementia stem from alterations of the neuromodulatory functions of the cerebellum.

Original languageEnglish
Article number523
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • brainstem
  • cerebellum
  • dementia
  • inferior olivary nucleus
  • spatial navigation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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