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Cerebellar nuclei

Learning objectives

This study unit will help you to:

  1. Understand the internal structure of the cerebellum and the divisions of the gray matter inside the cerebellum. 
  2. Learn about the nuclei of the cerebellum, their structure and their functions.

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The gray matter structures are the cerebellar cortex and cerebellar nuclei. The cerebellar cortex is the superficial sheet of densely packed nerve cells organized into three distinct layers (from superficial to deep):

  • The molecular layer 
  • The Purkinje cell layer 
  • The granular layer 

The deep gray matter is embedded in the white matter of the cerebellum and organized in four deep cerebellar nuclei. These nuclei are arranged in the following order (medial to lateral):

  • The fastigial nuclei
  • The globose nuclei
  • The emboliform nuclei
  • The dentate nuclei

The globose and emboliform nuclei can functionally be grouped into a structure called the interposed nuclei.

This video tutorial will provide you with an overview of the cerebellar nuclei.

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Browse atlas

Take a closer look at the cerebellar nuclei in the gallery below. 

Summary

Key facts about the cerebellar nuclei
Definition Deep gray matter structures of the cerebellum located deep to the fourth ventricle
Nuclei Fastigial nuclei, interposed nuclei (globose nuclei, emboliform nuclei), dentate nuclei
Cortical layers Molecular layer (superficial layer): Dendritic trees of the Purkinje cells, axons of granule cells, stellate cells
Purkinje cells layer
(middle layer): Purkinje cells, Bergmann glial cells
Granular layer
(deep layer): Granule cells and Golgi cells
Functional zones Vermal zone (fastigial nucleus): Responsible for maintaining balance
Paravermal zone
(interposed nuclei): Involved with skilled, volitional movements
Lateral zones
(dentate nucleus): Responsible for regulating entire motor activity; major nucleus: dentate nucleus
Flocculonodular zone
: Coordinates eye movements and balance

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