Researchers describe how the cerebellum modulates our abilit
The cerebellum, a primary brain structure involved in the control of sensorimotor tasks, also contributes to higher cognitive functions including reward, emotion and social interaction. Although the regulation of these behaviors has been largely ascribed to the monoaminergic system in limbic regions, the contribution of cerebellar dopamine signaling in the modulation of these functions remains largely unknown. By combining cell-type-specific transcriptomics, histological analyses, three-dimensional imaging and patch-clamp recordings, we demonstrate that cerebellar dopamine D2 receptors (D2Rs) in mice are preferentially expressed in Purkinje cells (PCs) and regulate synaptic efficacy onto PCs. Moreover, we found that changes in D2R levels in PCs of male mice during adulthood alter sociability and preference for social novelty without affecting motor functions. Altogether, these findings demonstrate novel roles for D2R in PC function and causally link cerebellar D2R levels of expression to social behaviors.