The cerebellum plays an important role in the coordination and refinement of movements and cognitive processes. Recently, it has been shown that the main output neuron of the cerebellar cortex, i.e., the Purkinje cell, can show a different firing behavior dependent on its intrinsic electrophysiological properties. Yet, to what extent a different nature of mossy fiber inputs can influence the firing behavior of cerebellar cortical neurons remains to be elucidated. Here, we compared the firing rate and regularity of mossy fibers and neurons in two different regions of cerebellar cortex. One region intimately connected with the cerebral cortex, i.e., lobules VI/VII of the neocerebellum, and another one strongly connected with the vestibular apparatus, i.e., lobule X of the archaeocerebellum. Given their connections, we hypothesized that activity in neurons in lobules VI/VII and lobule X may be expected to be more phasic and tonic, respectively. Using whole-cell and cell-attached recordings in vivo in anesthetized mice, we show that the mossy fiber inputs to these functionally distinct areas of the cerebellum differ in that the irregularity and bursty character of their firing is significantly greater in lobules VI/VII than in lobule X. Importantly, this difference in mossy fiber regularity is propagated through the granule cells at the input stage to the Purkinje cells and molecular layer interneurons, ultimately resulting in different regularity of simple spikes. These data show that the firing behavior of cerebellar cortical neurons does not only reflect particular intrinsic properties but also an interesting interplay with the innate activity at the input stage.

Cerebellar cortex, Neurophysiology, Patch clamp, Whole cell recording in vivo,
The Cerebellum
Department of Neuroscience

Witter, L, & de Zeeuw, C.I. (2015). In Vivo Differences in Inputs and Spiking Between Neurons in Lobules VI/VII of Neocerebellum and Lobule X of Archaeocerebellum. The Cerebellum, 14(5), 506–515. doi:10.1007/s12311-015-0654-z