Synchrony is Key: Complex Spike Inhibition of the Deep Cerebellar Nuclei

Tianyu Tang, Colleen Y. Suh, Timothy A. Blenkinsop, Eric J. Lang
2015 Cerebellum  
The control of deep cerebellar nuclear (DCN) neuronal firing is central to cerebellar function, but is not well understood. The large majority of synapses onto DCN neurons derive from Purkinje cells (PCs), suggesting that PC activity is an important determinant of DCN firing; however, PCs fire both simple and complex spikes (CSs), and little is known about how the latter's action affects DCN activity. Thus, here we explored the effects of CSs on DCN activity. CSs were recorded from PC arrays
more » ... ng with individual DCN neurons. Presumed synaptically connected PC-DCN cell pairs were identified using CS-triggered correlograms of DCN activity, which also showed that CS activity was associated with a predominantly inhibitory effect on DCN activity. The strength of the CS effect varied as a function of synchrony, such that isolated CSs produced only weak inhibition of DCN activity, whereas highly synchronous CSs caused a larger drop in firing levels. Although the present findings were obtained in anesthetized animals, similar CS synchrony levels exist in awake animals, and changes in synchrony level have been observed in association with movements in awake animals. Thus, the present data suggest that synchronous CS activity may be a mechanism for shaping DCN output related to motor commands.
doi:10.1007/s12311-015-0743-z pmid:26559892 pmcid:PMC4729620 fatcat:yhxjocismnbrdgzggd33dgc6sy