Cerebellar Golgi cell models predict dendritic processing and mechanisms of synaptic plasticity

Stefano Masoli, Alessandra Ottaviani, Stefano Casali, Egidio D'Angelo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Golgi cells are the main inhibitory interneurons of the cerebellar granular layer. Although recent works have highlighted the complexity of their dendritic organization and synaptic inputs, the mechanisms through which these neurons integrate complex input patterns remained unknown. Here we have used 8 detailed morphological reconstructions to develop multicompartmental models of Golgi cells, in which Na, Ca, and K channels were distributed along dendrites, soma, axonal initial segment and axon. The models faithfully reproduced a rich pattern of electrophysiological and pharmacological properties and predicted the operating mechanisms of these neurons. Basal dendrites turned out to be more tightly electrically coupled to the axon initial segment than apical dendrites. During synaptic transmission, parallel fibers caused slow Ca-dependent depolarizations in apical dendrites that boosted the axon initial segment encoder and Na-spike backpropagation into basal dendrites, while inhibitory synapses effectively shunted backpropagating currents. This oriented dendritic processing set up a coincidence detector controlling voltage-dependent NMDA receptor unblock in basal dendrites, which, by regulating local calcium influx, may provide the basis for spike-timing dependent plasticity anticipated by theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1007937
JournalPLoS Computational Biology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 30 2020


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