Synaptic plasticity has been historically considered the primary neural correlate of learning and memory.
Initially, depression at the parallel fiber to Purkinje cell synapse was considered the sole cellular mechanism underlying cerebellar motor learning. In line with other findings of the past decade, this thesis shows the importance of other forms of cerebellar plasticity, in particular that of Purkinje cell potentiation. More specifically, we show the relevance of this form of postsynaptic plasticity during adjustments of whisker protraction, licking and respiration. Based upon these findings, I suggest that intrinsic excitability and potentiation of the parallel fiber to Purkinje cell synapse result in increased simple spike activity, which in turn leads to faster sensorimotor integration. These results imply that deficits in such neuronal mechanisms can contribute to impairments in the acquisition and execution of faster reflexes in cerebellar patients.

Purkinje Potentiation Motor-learning Cerebellum Whisker-system Respiration
C.I. de Zeeuw (Chris) , L.W.J. Bosman (Laurens)
Erasmus University Rotterdam

Romano, V. (2020, June 3). Cerebellar Supervision of Action: Small brother is watching you. Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from