Spatial organization of visual messages of the rabbit's cerebellar flocculus. II. Complex and simple spike responses of Purkinje cells

J Neurophysiol. 1988 Dec;60(6):2091-121. doi: 10.1152/jn.1988.60.6.2091.


1. Complex and simple spike responses of Purkinje cells were recorded in the flocculus of anesthetized, paralyzed rabbits during rotating full-field visual stimuli produced by a three-axis planetarium projector. 2. On the basis of the spatial properties of their complex spike responses, floccular Purkinje cells could be placed into three distinct classes called Vertical Axis, Anterior (45 degrees) Axis and Posterior (135 degrees) Axis. The first two classes occurred in both monocular and binocular forms; the third class was encountered only in binocular form. For the binocular response forms, stimulation through one eye, called the dominant eye, elicited a stronger modulation of the complex spike firing rate than did stimulation of the other eye. The approximate orientation of that axis about which full-field rotation elicited the deepest modulation (the preferred axis) when presented to the dominant eye served as the class label. These classes are the same as those determined qualitatively for inferior olive neurons in the previous paper (47). The present study provides a quantitative description of their spatial tuning. 3. For Vertical Axis cells, the dominant eye was ipsilateral with respect to the flocculus recording site. The preferred axis was vertical and null (no-response) axes were in the horizontal plane. For the binocular response form of Vertical Axis cells (less than 10% of this class), the direction preferences for the two eyes were synergistic with respect to rotation about the vertical axis. 4. The dominant eye for the Anterior (45 degrees) Axis cells was contralateral, with the preferred axis oriented in the horizontal plane at approximately 45 degrees contralateral azimuth. The modulation depth showed a close to cosine relation with the angle between the preferred axis and the stimulus rotation axis. The average orientation (n = 10) for the dominant eye preferred axis, determined by the best-fit sinusoid, was 47 degrees contralateral azimuth. The preferred axis orientation for the ipsilateral (nondominant) eye in the binocular response forms was between 45 and 90 degrees azimuth in the horizontal plane. A null axis for each eye was at approximately 90 degrees to the preferred axis. 5. The Posterior (135 degrees) Axis cells were encountered only in binocular response forms. The dominant eye was ipsilateral, with the preferred axis oriented at approximately 135 degrees ipsilateral azimuth close to the horizontal plane. The modulation depth showed a close to cosine relation with the angle between the preferred axis and the stimulus rotation axis.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebellum / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Functional Laterality
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Purkinje Cells / physiology*
  • Rabbits / physiology*
  • Vision, Ocular
  • Visual Perception*