068 The Anatomy and Function of the Cerebellum
In this episode, Leslie talks about our “little brain,” or our cerebellum — about its different parts and functions of each. The cerebellum has three fiber peduncles attaching it to the brain stem, and also has three lobes just like our brain. Learn more about the functions and locations of each as you watch through this episode.
Transcript of Today’s Episode
Hello and welcome to another episode of Interactive-Biology TV where we’re making Biology fun. My name is Leslie Samuel, and in this episode, Episode 068, I’m going to be talking about the anatomy and functions of the cerebellum. So, let’s get right into it.
Here, we’re looking at a picture of the cerebellum. The cerebellum would be this part here, then, of course, we have the brain stem that is just anterior to the cerebellum. Of course, superior to that we have the cerebrum. This is just looking at a section of the brain, the section showing the cerebellum. Just to let you know, if you want to revisit what I’ve already said about the cerebellum, you can go to Episode 026. In Episode 026, I talk about the functions of the cerebellum, and I go into a little bit of detail.
Just to recap, “cerebellum” is Latin for “little brain.” It looks like a little brain at the back and the bottom of the brain. So, posterior and inferior, that would be where the cerebellum is located. The functions of the cerebellum, of course, we’re dealing with integration, regulation, and coordination of motion.
You want to move from one location to the next, you want to move your arm, you want to move some part of your body, the cerebellum is very much involved in integrating the signals or regulating what’s going on and coordinating that motion. That is the cerebellum and what it does.
Here’s a different picture of the cerebellum. You can see, we have the cerebellum here. It’s a drawing of the cerebellum from Gray’s Anatomy. Here you can see we have the brain stem. Of course, at the top, we’re going to have the midbrain, and then the pons, and the medulla.
What I want to emphasize here is that we have three pairs of fiber bundles that are attaching the cerebellum to the brain stem. Those fibers are called the cerebellar peduncles. We have three pairs of them. You can see here, we have the superior peduncle. (This is pointing out one of the superior peduncles). Then, we have, of course, the middle peduncles (so, that would be those fibers here). And then, we have the inferior peduncles which would be, of course, beneath the middle peduncles. You can see one here, and one over here.
We have these three pairs of peduncles, the superior peduncles, middle peduncles, and the inferior peduncles. Those connect that cerebellum to the brain stem. Of course, they’re going to connect to different regions. The superior peduncles are going to connect to the upper pons, (so, here we have the pons, and that’s connecting to the upper pons). The middle peduncles are going to connect it to the lateral aspect of the pons, (that’s right here). And then, the inferior peduncles, it’s going to connect to the dorsal lateral surface of the upper medulla. So, here we have the medulla, dorsal, that would be kind of to the back here; and lateral, so, we’re dealing with the upper medulla in this area. That’s where the inferior peduncles connect. We have all these fibers that are connecting the cerebellum to the brain stem.
Let’s move on from there and take at another look at the cerebellum. What we’re doing here, in these pictures, these are pictures of a cerebellum from a human, but in the top picture, we are looking at the posterior view, so from the back of the head, here, we are looking at the anterior view. This is the side of the brain stem. The brain stem would normally be in the front here. So, posterior and anterior.
What I want to show you is that we have three lobes in the cerebellum. Just like the brain has lobes, cerebellum is a little brain. It also has its lobes. Those three lobes are the anterior lobe, which of course, would be the one that you’re seeing here. So, these would be the two anterior lobes. Then, if you look from the back, you get the posterior lobe, so you can see this is one posterior lobe, and this is another posterior lobe.
Then, we have the flocculonodular lobe. That would be inferior, but it’s kind of small, so you can’t see it, as well, (it’s not shown in this picture). It’s kind of blocked by the posterior lobe. So, we have the anterior lobe, posterior lobe, and the flocculonodular lobe. Those are the three lobes.
The largest lobe would be, you can see that here, the posterior lobes. You can see that’s bigger than the anterior. The smallest would be the flocculonodular lobe.
There’s one more structure that I want to talk about. That is called the vermis. You can see the vermis right there, kind of in between the two lobes.
The cerebellum is involved in integrating, regulating, and coordinating motion. It needs to get input from the regions of the brain that are responsible and that are involved in that process. It needs to get information from the different parts of the central nervous system. These three lobes are going to get information from different parts. And, the anterior lobe gets information from the spinal cord. So, you have these peripheral nerves coming into the spinal cord giving information about what’s going on in the periphery of your body, what’s going on with your hands, and your legs, your extremities. It’s going to take that information, of course, and integrate that with some other information that the cerebellum is getting.
The posterior lobe is going to get information from the cortex. We’ve spoken about areas in the cortex. We’ve spoken about areas in the cortex that are responsible and that are involved in the process of movement.
And, lastly, the flocculonodular lobe is going to get information from the vestibuli. That’s in the inner ear. The vestibuli are heavily involved in proprioception being aware of where your body is.
So, anterior lobe getting information from the spinal cord; the posterior lobe getting information from the cortex; the flocculonodular lobe getting information from the vestibuli. The cerebellum is taking all that information, processing it, and helping you to have coordinated motion.
I hope that makes sense. That’s pretty much all I want to cover in this episode. As usual, I want to invite you to visit the website at www.Interactive-Biology.com. You’re going to get more Biology videos there, more resources to help make Biology fun, transcripts of these videos and just a bunch of other stuff. So, head on over there, www.Interactive-Biology.com.
This is Leslie Samuel. That’s it for this video, and I’ll see you on the next one.