The role of cerebellar circuitry alterations in the pathophysiology of autism spectrum disorders

Matthew W. Mosconi, Zheng Wang, Lauren M. Schmitt, Peter Tsai, John A. Sweeney

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


The cerebellum has been repeatedly implicated in gene expression, rodent model and post-mortem studies of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). How cellular and molecular anomalies of the cerebellum relate to clinical manifestations of ASD remains unclear. Separate circuits of the cerebellum control different sensorimotor behaviors, such as maintaining balance, walking, making eye movements, reaching, and grasping. Each of these behaviors has been found to be impaired in ASD, suggesting that multiple distinct circuits of the cerebellum may be involved in the pathogenesis of patients' sensorimotor impairments. We will review evidence that the development of these circuits is disrupted in individuals with ASD and that their study may help elucidate the pathophysiology of sensorimotor deficits and core symptoms of the disorder. Preclinical studies of monogenetic conditions associated with ASD also have identified selective defects of the cerebellum and documented behavioral rescues when the cerebellum is targeted. Based on these findings, we propose that cerebellar circuits may prove to be promising targets for therapeutic development aimed at rescuing sensorimotor and other clinical symptoms of different forms of ASD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number296
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Issue numberSEP
StatePublished - 2015


  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Cerebellum
  • Gait
  • Genetics
  • Oculomotor
  • Pathophysiology
  • Precision grip
  • Sensorimotor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of cerebellar circuitry alterations in the pathophysiology of autism spectrum disorders'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this