Between in and out: linking morphology and physiology of cerebellar cortical interneurons

Prog Brain Res. 2005;148:329-40. doi: 10.1016/S0079-6123(04)48026-1.


We used the juxtacellular recording and labeling technique of Pinault (1996) in the uvula/nodulus of the ketamine anesthetized rat in an attempt to link different patterns of spontaneous activity with different types of morphologically identified cerebellar cortical interneurons. Cells displaying a somewhat irregular, syncopated cadence of spontaneous activity averaging 4-10 Hz could, upon successful entrainment and visualization, be morphologically identified as Golgi cells. Spontaneously firing cells with a highly or fairly regular firing rate of 10-35 Hz turned out to be unipolar brush cells. We also found indications that other types of cerebellar cortical neurons might also be distinguished on the basis of the characteristics of their spontaneous firing. Comparison of the interspike interval histograms of spontaneous activity obtained in the anaesthetized rat with those obtained in the awake rabbit points to a way whereby the behaviorally related modulation of specific types of interneurons can be studied. In particular, the spontaneous activity signatures of Golgi cells and unipolar brush cells anatomically identified in the uvula/nodulus of the anaesthetized rat are remarkably similar to the spontaneous activity patterns of some units we have recorded in the flocculus of the awake rabbit. The spontaneous activity patterns of at least some types of cerebellar interneurons clearly have the potential to serve as identifying signatures in behaving animals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebellar Cortex / cytology*
  • Cerebellar Cortex / physiology*
  • Interneurons / cytology*
  • Interneurons / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways