Volume 11 Supplement 1
What was the Purkinje doing while the monkey slept?
© Negrello et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2010
Published: 20 July 2010
Statements about the intrinsic firing modes available to the Purkinje neuron have recently found themselves amidst controversy [1, 2]. While extracellular recordings from anesthetized animals and slices have shown a Purkinje neuron transitioning from up to down states -- respectively characterized by high frequency firing and longer quiescent periods -- these observations have not been convincingly reproduced in awake and behaving animals. The fulcrum of the controversy is whether the Purkinje neuron possesses intrinsic bistability, and in that case, (1) what triggers the bistability and (2) whether functional consequences can be derived from this fact.
The debate has thus far focused on the putative differences between different model organisms (mice, rats, cats, primates) and experimental settings (slices, anesthetics), with observations varying according to the individual combinations.
It stands to reason that these two modes are related to the mossy fiber input, presumably much more coherent when the input volley relates to sensory and motor afferences (and cortical rhythms), and thereby suppressing the more intrinsic dynamics, which likely relate more closely to cerebellar cytoarchitectonics. By providing context to the seemingly discrepant observations, our conclusions appear both to justify, and thereby to approximate the opposing views, indicating moreover that to know how one type of activity becomes the other one must regard the afferent activity of the waking state as responsible for the transition.
We thank A. Ignashchenkova and P. Thier for sharing their data with us.
- Loewenstein, et al: Bistability of cerebellar Purkinje cells modulated by sensory stimulation. Nature Neuroscience. 2005, 8 (2): 202-11. 10.1038/nn1393.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Schonewille, et al: Purkinje cells in awake behaving animals operate at the upstate membrane potential. Nature Neuroscience. 2006, 9 (4): 459-61. 10.1038/nn0406-459. author reply 461View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd.