Traveling waves in developing cerebellar cortex mediated by asymmetrical Purkinje cell connectivity

Nat Neurosci. 2009 Apr;12(4):463-73. doi: 10.1038/nn.2285. Epub 2009 Mar 15.


Correlated network activity is important in the development of many neural circuits. Purkinje cells are among the first neurons to populate the cerebellar cortex, where they sprout exuberant axon collaterals. We used multiple patch-clamp recordings targeted with two-photon microscopy to characterize monosynaptic connections between the Purkinje cells of juvenile mice. We found that Purkinje cell axon collaterals projected asymmetrically in the sagittal plane, directed away from the lobule apex. On the basis of our anatomical and physiological characterization of this connection, we constructed a network model that robustly generated waves of activity that traveled along chains of connected Purkinje cells. Consistent with the model, we observed traveling waves of activity in Purkinje cells in sagittal slices from young mice that require GABA(A) receptor-mediated transmission and intact Purkinje cell axon collaterals. These traveling waves are absent in adult mice, suggesting they have a developmental role in wiring the cerebellar cortical microcircuit.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / drug effects
  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Axons / physiology
  • Biophysics
  • Cerebellar Cortex / cytology*
  • Cerebellar Cortex / growth & development*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Electric Stimulation
  • GABA Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase / genetics
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Lysine / analogs & derivatives
  • Lysine / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microscopy, Confocal / methods
  • Neural Networks, Computer
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques / methods
  • Purkinje Cells / cytology
  • Purkinje Cells / physiology*
  • Pyridazines / pharmacology
  • Synapses / genetics
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Synaptic Potentials / drug effects
  • Synaptic Potentials / genetics
  • Synaptic Potentials / physiology
  • tau Proteins / genetics


  • GABA Antagonists
  • Pyridazines
  • tau Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • gabazine
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase
  • glutamate decarboxylase 2
  • biocytin
  • Lysine