Skip to main content

The implications of evolutionary changes in the dendritic morphology of cerebellar Purkinje cells for information processing

The dendritic morphology of neurons has been a focus of study in computational neuroscience for many years (e.g. [1]), but it is rare that the morphology of the same cell has been compared across different species. This study compares the morphology and resulting predicted passive electrical properties of cerebellar Purkinje cells obtained from a variety of different animal species, both mammalian and non-mammalian. The comparison is based on single cell reconstructions incorporated into the GENESIS simulation platform. For comparison purposes, all simulations were performed using values for membrane conductance and axial resistivity applied in previous models of mammalian Purkinje cells [2]. In addition to quantifying differences in morphology and expected passive electrical properties, the possible information processing capability of each species of Purkinje cell was evaluated using information theoretical techniques such as those used previously to quantify relationships between input and output [3]. The resulting information theoretical measures are then used to compare the performance of each cell, and to identify compensatory mechanism that could preserve the information processing capabilities in the presence of the morphological changes that occur during evolution.


  1. Mainen ZF, Sejnowski TJ: Influence of dendritic structure on firing pattern in model neocortical neurons. Nature. 1996, 382: 363-366. 10.1038/382363a0.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Rapp M, Segev I, Yarom Y: Physiology, morphology and detailed passive models of guinea-pig cerebellar Purkinje cells. J Physiol. 1994, 474: 101-118.

    Article  PubMed Central  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Coop AD, Cornelis H, Santamaria F: Dendritic excitability modulates dendritic information processing in a Purkinje cell model. Front Comput Neurosci. 2010, 4 (6): 1-10.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Kirsty Kidd.

Rights and permissions

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Kidd, K., Cornelis, H., Bower, J.M. et al. The implications of evolutionary changes in the dendritic morphology of cerebellar Purkinje cells for information processing. BMC Neurosci 14 (Suppl 1), P373 (2013).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI:


  • Purkinje Cell
  • Animal Species
  • Previous Model
  • Compensatory Mechanism
  • Evolutionary Change