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Cerebellar LTD and pattern recognition by Purkinje cells.

V Steuber, W Mittmann, FE Hoebeek, RA Silver, CI De Zeeuw, M Häusser, E De Schutter

Laboratory of Theoretical Neurobiology, University of Antwerp, B 2610 Antwerp, Belgium. v.steuber@herts.ca.uk

Neuron 54:121-36 (2007)

Abstract - Many theories of cerebellar function assume that long-term depression (LTD) of parallel fiber (PF) synapses enables Purkinje cells to learn to recognize PF activity patterns. We have studied the LTD-based recognition of PF patterns in a biophysically realistic Purkinje-cell model. With simple-spike firing as observed in vivo, the presentation of a pattern resulted in a burst of spikes followed by a pause. Surprisingly, the best criterion to distinguish learned patterns was the duration of this pause. Moreover, our simulations predicted that learned patterns elicited shorter pauses, thus increasing Purkinje-cell output. We tested this prediction in Purkinje-cell recordings both in vitro and in vivo. In vitro, we found a shortening of pauses when decreasing the number of active PFs or after inducing LTD. In vivo, we observed longer pauses in LTD-deficient mice. Our results suggest a novel form of neural coding in the cerebellar cortex.

PMID: 17408582 [PubMed]