Characteristics of Responses of Golgi Cells and Mossy Fibers to Eye Saccades and Saccadic Adaptation Recorded from the Posterior Vermis of the Cerebellum
Journal of Neuroscience
The anatomical organization of the granular layer of the cerebellum suggests an important function for Golgi cells (GC) in the pathway conveying mossy fiber (MF) afferents to Purkinje cells. Based on such anatomic observations, early proposals have attributed a role in "gain control" for GCs, a function disputed by recent investigations, which assert that GCs instead contribute to oscillatory mechanisms. However, conclusive physiological evidence based on studies of cerebellum-dependent
... m-dependent behavior supporting/dismissing the gain control proposition has been lacking as of yet. We addressed the possible function of this interneuron by recording the activity of a large number of both MFs and GCs during saccadic eye movements from the same cortical area of the monkey cerebellum, namely the oculomotor vermis (OMV). Our cellular identification conformed to previously established criteria, mainly to juxtacellular labeling studies correlating physiological parameters with cell morphology. Response patterns of both MFs and GCs were highly heterogeneous. MF discharges correlated linearly with eye saccade metrics and timing, showing directional preference and precise direction tuning. In contrast, GC discharges did not correlate strongly with the metrics or direction of movement. Their discharge properties were also unaffected by motor learning during saccadic adaptation. The OMV therefore receives a barrage of information about eye movements from different oculomotor areas over the MF pathway, which is not reflected in GCs. The unspecificity of GCs has important implications for the intricacies of neuronal processing in the granular layer, clearly discrediting their involvement in gain control and instead suggesting a more secluded role for these interneurons.