Membrane excitability and fear conditioning in cerebellar Purkinje cell

Neuroscience. 2006 Jul 7;140(3):801-10. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2006.02.040. Epub 2006 Mar 31.


In a previous study it has been demonstrated that fear conditioning is associated with a long-lasting potentiation of parallel fiber to Purkinje cell synaptic transmission in vermal lobules V and VI. Since modifications of intrinsic membrane properties have been suggested to mediate some forms of memory processes, we investigated possible changes of Purkinje cell intrinsic properties following the same learning paradigm and in the same cerebellar region. By means of the patch clamp technique, Purkinje cell passive and active membrane properties were evaluated in slices prepared from rats 10 min or 24 h after fear conditioning and in slices from control naïve animals. None of the evaluated parameters (input resistance, inward rectification, maximal firing frequency and the first inter-spike interval, post-burst afterhyperpolarization, action potential threshold and amplitude, action potential afterhyperpolarization) was significantly different between the three studied groups also in those cells where parallel fiber-Purkinje cell synapse was potentiated. Our results show that fear learning does not affect the intrinsic membrane properties involved in Purkinje cell firing. Therefore, at the level of Purkinje cell the plastic change associated with fear conditioning is specifically restricted to synaptic efficacy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / physiology*
  • Conditioning, Psychological / physiology*
  • Electric Impedance
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Fear / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Purkinje Cells / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Synapses / physiology
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology