Cerebellar long-term depression (LTD) at parallel fibre-Purkinje cell (P-cell) synapses is thought to embody neuronal information storage for motor learning. Transgenic L7-protein kinase C inhibitor (PKCI) mice in which cerebellar LTD is selectively blocked do indeed exhibit impaired adaptation in the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) while their default oculomotor performance is unaffected. Although supportive, these data do not definitively establish a causal link between memory storage required for motor learning and cerebellar LTD. As the L7-PKCI transgene is probably activated from the early stages of P-cell development, an alternative could be that P-cells develop abnormal signals in L7-PKCI mutants, disturbing mechanisms of motor learning that rely on proper P-cell outputs. To test this alternative hypothesis, we studied simple spike (SS) and complex spike (CS) activity of vertical axis P-cells in the flocculus of L7-PKCI mice and their wild-type littermates during sinusoidal optokinetic stimulation. Both SS and CS discharge dynamics appeared to be very similar in wild-type and transgenic P-cells at all stimulus frequencies (0.05-0.8 Hz). The CS activity of all vertical axis cells increased with contralateral stimulus rotation and lagged ipsiversive eye velocity by 165-180°. The SS modulation was roughly reciprocal to the CS modulation and lagged ipsiversive eye velocity by ∼ 15°. The baseline SS and CS discharge characteristics were indistinguishable between the two genotypes. We conclude that the impaired VOR learning in L7-PKCI mutants does not reflect fundamental aberrations of the cerebellar circuitry. The data thus strengthen the evidence that cerebellar LTD is implicated in rapid VOR learning but not in the development of normal default response patterns.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Cerebellar and vestibular nuclei, Genetic manipulation, Heterosynaptic plasticity, Motor learning, Vestibulo-ocular reflex
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0953-816X.2003.03173.x, hdl.handle.net/1765/64898
Journal European Journal of Neuroscience
Goossens, H.H.L.M, Hoebeek, F.E, van Alphen, A.M, van der Steen, J, Stahl, J.S, de Zeeuw, C.I, & Frens, M.A. (2004). Simple spike and complex spike activity of floccular Purkinje cells during the optokinetic reflex in mice lacking cerebellar long-term depression. European Journal of Neuroscience, 19(3), 687–697. doi:10.1111/j.0953-816X.2003.03173.x