Tactile stimulation evokes long-lasting potentiation of purkinje cell discharge in vivo

K. B. Ramakrishnan, Kai Voges, Licia De Propris, Chris I. De Zeeuw, Egidio D’Angelo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the cerebellar network, a precise relationship between plasticity and neuronal discharge has been predicted. However, the potential generation of persistent changes in Purkinje cell (PC) spike discharge as a consequence of plasticity following natural stimulation patterns has not been clearly determined. Here, we show that facial tactile stimuli organized in theta-patterns can induce stereotyped N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA-A) receptor-dependent changes in PCs and molecular layer interneurons (MLIs) firing: invariably, all PCs showed a long-lasting increase (Spike-Related Potentiation or SR-P) and MLIs a long-lasting decrease (Spike-Related Suppression or SR-S) in baseline activity and spike response probability. These observations suggests that tactile sensory stimulation engages multiple long-term plastic changes that are distributed along the mossy fiber-parallel fiber (MF-PF) pathway and operate synergistically to potentiate spike generation in PCs. In contrast, theta-pattern electrical stimulation (ES) of PFs indistinctly induced SR-P and SR-S both in PCs and MLIs, suggesting that tactile sensory stimulation preordinates plasticity upstream of the PF-PC synapse. All these effects occurred in the absence of complex spike changes, supporting the theoretical prediction that PC activity is potentiated when the MF-PF system is activated in the absence of conjunctive climbing fiber (CF) activity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number36
JournalFrontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
Issue numberFEB
Publication statusPublished - Feb 18 2016


  • Cerebellum
  • In vivo electrophysiology
  • LTD
  • LTP
  • Molecular layer interneurons
  • Purkinje cell
  • Suppression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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