Calcium Imaging Reveals Coordinated Simple Spike Pauses in Populations of Cerebellar Purkinje Cells

Cell Rep. 2016 Dec 20;17(12):3125-3132. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.11.075.


The brain's control of movement is thought to involve coordinated activity between cerebellar Purkinje cells. The results reported here demonstrate that somatic Ca2+ imaging is a faithful reporter of Na+-dependent "simple spike" pauses and enables us to optically record changes in firing rates in populations of Purkinje cells in brain slices and in vivo. This simultaneous calcium imaging of populations of Purkinje cells reveals a striking spatial organization of pauses in Purkinje cell activity between neighboring cells. The source of this organization is shown to be the presynaptic gamma-Aminobutyric acid producing (GABAergic) network, and blocking ionotropic gamma-Aminobutyric acid receptor (GABAARs) abolishes the synchrony. These data suggest that presynaptic interneurons synchronize (in)activity between neighboring Purkinje cells, and thereby maximize their effect on downstream targets in the deep cerebellar nuclei.

Keywords: 2 photon; GABA; GCaMP6f; OGB1; Purkinje; calcium; cerebellum; climbing fibers; complex spikes; deconvolution; imaging; interneurons; in vivo; parallel fibers; simple spikes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Calcium / chemistry*
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cell Tracking / methods
  • Cerebellum / cytology*
  • Cerebellum / metabolism
  • Dendrites / metabolism
  • Electric Stimulation
  • GABA Modulators / chemistry
  • GABA Modulators / metabolism
  • Molecular Imaging / methods*
  • Nerve Fibers / metabolism*
  • Nerve Fibers / pathology
  • Purkinje Cells / cytology*
  • Rats
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism


  • GABA Modulators
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Calcium