Simultaneous dendritic voltage and calcium imaging and somatic recording from Purkinje neurons in awake mice

Nat Commun. 2018 Aug 23;9(1):3388. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-05900-3.


Spatiotemporal maps of dendritic signalling and their relationship with somatic output is fundamental to neuronal information processing, yet remain unexplored in awake animals. Here, we combine simultaneous sub-millisecond voltage and calcium two-photon imaging from distal spiny dendrites, with somatic electrical recording from spontaneously active cerebellar Purkinje neurons (PN) in awake mice. We detect discrete 1-2 ms suprathreshold voltage spikelets in the distal spiny dendrites during dendritic complex spikes. Spikelets and their calcium correlates are highly heterogeneous in number, timing and spatial distribution within and between complex spikes. Back-propagating simple spikes are highly attenuated. Highly variable 5-10 ms voltage hotspots are localized to fine dendritic processes and are reduced in size and frequency by lidocaine and CNQX. Hotspots correlated with somatic output but also, at high frequency, trigger purely dendritic calcium spikes. Summarizing, spatiotemporal signalling in PNs is far more complex, dynamic, and fine scaled than anticipated, even in resting animals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Dendrites / metabolism*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional*
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Purkinje Cells / metabolism
  • Wakefulness / physiology*


  • Calcium