Climbing Fibre Actions of Purkinje Cells — Plateau Potentials and Long-Lasting Depression of Parallel Fibre Responses

  • C.-F. Ekerot
Part of the Proceedings in Life Sciences book series (LIFE SCIENCES)


Understanding of the information processing occurring in the cerebellar cortex requires knowledge about the properties and specific functions of the two major kinds of afferents received by the Purkinje cells, the parallel fibres and the climbing fibres. The synapses between these two kinds of afferents and the Purkinje cells are both excitatory but have otherwise an entirely different organization. Each Purkinje cell receives about 100,000 parallel fibres which make synapses on the distal dendrites, but only one climbing fibre which makes an extraordinarily.powerful synaptic contact on more proximal dendrites. Activity in parallel fibres is, at least partly, responsible for the background activity of Purkinje cells which is usually between 20 and 100 Hz. A climbing fibre impulse causes a discharge of the Purkinje cell, which extracellularly is recorded as a “complex spike” from the soma. The complex spike consists of an initial action potential followed by one or a few abortive spikes. Although some of the abortive spikes may be conducted down the Purkinje cell axon (Ito and Simpson, 1971) the overall contribution of climbing fibres to the output activity of Purkinje cells must be small because of the low discharge rate of climbing fibres, usually 1–2 Hz.


Purkinje Cell Parallel Fibre Climbing Fibre Plateau Potential Complex Spike 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Albus JS (1971) A theory of cerebellar function. Math Biosci 10: 25–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Campbell NC, Ekerot C-F, Hesslow G (1983a) Interaction between responses in Purkinje cell evoked by climbing fibre impulses and parallel fibre volleys in the cat. J Physiol (Lond) 340: 225–238Google Scholar
  3. Campbell NC, Ekerot C-F, Hesslow G, Oscarsson O (1983a) Dendritic plateau potentials evoked in Purkinje cells by parallel fibre volleys in the cat. J Physiol (Lond) 340: 209–223Google Scholar
  4. Dufosse M, Ito M, Jastreboff PJ, Miyashita Y (1978) A neuronal correlate in rabbit’s cerebellum to adaptive modification of the vestibulo-ocular reflex. Brain Res 150: 611–616PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Eccles JC, Ito M, Szentägothai J (1967) The Cerebellum as a Neuronal Machine. Springer Verlag, Berlin-Heidelberg-New YorkGoogle Scholar
  6. Ekerot C-F, Kano M (1983) Climbing fibre induced depression of Purkinje cell responses to parallel fibre stimulation. Proc Int Union Physiol Sci, vol XV. Sydney, p 393Google Scholar
  7. Ekerot C-F, Oscarsson O (1980) Prolonged dendritic depolarizations evoked in Purkinje cells by climbing fibre impulses. Brain Res 192: 272–275PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ekerot C-F, Oscarsson O (1981) Prolonged dendritic depolarizations elicited in Purkinje cell dendrites by climbing fibre impulses in the cat. J Physiol (Lond) 318: 207–221Google Scholar
  9. Ito M (1972) Neural design of the cerebellar motor control system. Brain Res 40: 81–84PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ito M (1982) Cerebellar control of the vestibulo-ocular reflex — around the flocculus hypothesis. Ann Rev Neurosci 5: 275–296PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ito M, Sakurai M, Tongroach P (1982) Climbing fibre induced depression of both mossy fibre responsiveness and glutamate sensitivity of cerebellar Purkinje cells. J Physiol (Lond) 324: 113–134Google Scholar
  12. Ito M, Simpson JI (1971) Discharges in Purkinje cell axons during climbing fibre activation. Brain Res 31: 215–219PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Llinâs R, Sugimori M (1980) Electrophysiological properties of in vitro Purkinje cell dendrites in mammalian cerebellar slices. J Physiol (Lond) 305: 197–213Google Scholar
  14. Man D (1969) A theory of cerebellar cortex. J Physiol (Lond) 202: 437–470Google Scholar
  15. Miledi R (1980) Intracellular calcium and desensitization of acetylcholine receptors. Proc R Soc B 209: 447–452CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Miller S, Oscarsson O (1970) Termination and functional organization of spino-olivary cerebellar paths. In: The Cerebellum in Health and Disease. Eds Field WS, & Willis Jr, WD. Warren H. Green, Inc. Publisher, St. Louis, Missouri, USA, p 172–220Google Scholar
  17. Watanabe E (1984) Neuronal events correlated with long-term adaptation of the horizontal vestibulo-ocular reflex in the primate flocculus. Brain Res. 297: 169–174PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • C.-F. Ekerot
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of PhysiologyUniversity of LundLundSweden

Personalised recommendations