Cerebellar Circuits for Classical Fear Conditioning

Kyoung Doo Hwang, Sang Jeong Kim, Yong Seok Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Accumulating evidence indicates that the cerebellum is critically involved in modulating non-motor behaviors, including cognition and emotional processing. Both imaging and lesion studies strongly suggest that the cerebellum is a component of the fear memory network. Given the well-established role of the cerebellum in adaptive prediction of movement and cognition, the cerebellum is likely to be engaged in the prediction of learned threats. The cerebellum is activated by fear learning, and fear learning induces changes at multiple synaptic sites in the cerebellum. Furthermore, recent technological advances have enabled the investigation of causal relationships between intra- and extra-cerebellar circuits and fear-related behaviors such as freezing. Here, we review the literature on the mechanisms underlying the modulation of cerebellar circuits in a mammalian brain by fear conditioning at the cellular and synaptic levels to elucidate the contributions of distinct cerebellar structures to fear learning and memory. This knowledge may facilitate a deeper understanding and development of more effective treatment strategies for fear-related affective disorders including post-traumatic stress or anxiety related disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number836948
JournalFrontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
StatePublished - 30 Mar 2022


  • cerebellum
  • emotion
  • fear conditioning
  • microcircuits
  • non-motor cognitive function
  • synaptic plasticity


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