Maturation of Cerebellar Purkinje Cell Population Activity during Postnatal Refinement of Climbing Fiber Network

Cell Rep. 2017 Nov 21;21(8):2066-2073. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.10.101.


Neural circuits undergo massive refinements during postnatal development. In the developing cerebellum, the climbing fiber (CF) to Purkinje cell (PC) network is drastically reshaped by eliminating early-formed redundant CF to PC synapses. To investigate the impact of CF network refinement on PC population activity during postnatal development, we monitored spontaneous CF responses in neighboring PCs and the activity of populations of nearby CF terminals using in vivo two-photon calcium imaging. Population activity is highly synchronized in newborn mice, and the degree of synchrony gradually declines during the first postnatal week in PCs and, to a lesser extent, in CF terminals. Knockout mice lacking P/Q-type voltage-gated calcium channel or glutamate receptor δ2, in which CF network refinement is severely impaired, exhibit an abnormally high level of synchrony in PC population activity. These results suggest that CF network refinement is a structural basis for developmental desynchronization and maturation of PC population activity.

Keywords: 2-photon microscopy; Purkinje cell; cerebellum; climbing fiber; in vivo calcium imaging; population activity; postnatal development; synapse elimination.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / metabolism
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Cerebellum / metabolism*
  • Dendrites / metabolism
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Nerve Net / cytology*
  • Purkinje Cells / cytology
  • Receptors, Glutamate / genetics
  • Synapses / metabolism*


  • Receptors, Glutamate
  • glutamate receptor delta 2
  • Calcium