Mapping with local lesions, electrical or chemical stimulation, or recording evoked field potentials or unit spikes revealed localized representations of cardiovascular functions in the cerebellum. In this review, which is based on literatures in the field (including our own publications), I propose that the cerebellum contains five distinct modules (cerebellar corticonuclear microcomplexes) dedicated to cardiovascular control. First, a discrete rostral portion of the fastigial nucleus and the overlying medial portion of the anterior vermis (lobules I, II and III) conjointly form a module that controls the baroreflex. Second, anterior vermis also forms a microcomplex with the parabrachial nucleus. Third, a discrete caudal portion of the fastigial nucleus and the overlying medial portion of the posterior vermis (lobules VII and VIII) form another module controlling the vestibulosympathetic reflex. Fourth, the medial portion of the uvula may form a module with the nucleus tractus solitarius and parabrachial nucleus. Fifth, the lateral edge of the nodulus and the uvula, together with the parabrachial nucleus and vestibular nuclei, forms a cardiovascular microcomplex that controls the magnitude and/or timing of sympathetic nerve responses and stability of the mean arterial blood pressure during changes of head position and body posture. The lateral nodulus-uvula appears to be an integrative cardiovascular control center involving both the baroreflex and the vestibulosympathetic reflex.
2004 by The Physiological Society of Japan