Axonal motility and its modulation by activity are branch-type specific in the intact adult cerebellum

Neuron. 2007 Nov 8;56(3):472-87. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2007.09.010.


We performed two-photon in vivo imaging of cerebellar climbing fibers (CFs; the terminal arbor of olivocerebellar axons) in adult mice. CF ascending branches innervate Purkinje cells while CF transverse branches show a near complete failure to form conventional synapses. Time-lapse imaging over hours or days revealed that ascending branches were very stable. However, transverse branches were highly dynamic, exhibiting rapid elongation and retraction and varicosity turnover. Thus, different branches of the same axon, with different innervation patterns, display branch type-specific motility in the adult cerebellum. Furthermore, dynamic changes in transverse branch length were almost completely suppressed by pharmacological stimulation of olivary firing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology
  • Axons / ultrastructure*
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Cell Shape / physiology
  • Cerebellar Cortex / cytology*
  • Cerebellar Cortex / physiology
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Growth Cones / physiology
  • Growth Cones / ultrastructure
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neural Pathways / cytology*
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Olivary Nucleus / cytology*
  • Olivary Nucleus / physiology
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Organic Chemicals
  • Presynaptic Terminals / physiology
  • Presynaptic Terminals / ultrastructure
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*
  • Time Factors


  • Alexa594
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Organic Chemicals