Purkinje cells (PCs) are principal cerebellar neurons, and several classes of interneurons modulate their activity. Lugaro cells (LCs) are one such inhibitory interneuron with distinctive cytology and location, but still most enigmatic among cerebellar neurons. Here we serendipitously produced a novel transgenic mouse line, where a half of Yellow Cameleon (YC)(+) cells in the cerebellar cortex were judged to be LCs, and YC(+) LCs were estimated to constitute one-third of the total LC populations. Neurochemically, two-thirds of YC(+) LCs were dually GABAergic/glycinergic, with the rest being GABAergic. Beneath the PC layer, they extended a sheet of somatodendritic meshwork interconnected with neighboring LCs by adherens junctions, and received various inputs from climbing fibers, mossy fibers, granule cell axons, recurrent PC axons, Golgi cell axons, LC axons, and serotonergic fibers. Intriguingly, somatodendritic elements of individual LCs preferentially extended within a given cerebellar compartment defined by aldolase C expression. In turn, YC(+) LCs projected a dense lattice of ascending and transverse axons to the molecular layer, and innervated molecular layer interneurons (basket and stellate cells) and Golgi cells, but not PCs. Of note, ascending axons profusely innervated individual targets within a cerebellar compartment, while transverse axons ran across several compartments and innervated targets sparsely. This unique circuit configuration highlights that LCs integrate various excitatory, inhibitory, and modulatory inputs coming to the belonging cerebellar compartment and that, as an interneuron-selective interneuron, LCs can effectively disinhibit cerebellar cortical activities in a compartment-dependent manner through inhibition of inhibitory interneurons selectively targeting PCs and granule cells.
Keywords: Lugaro cell; Purkinje cell; cerebellar compartment; globular cell; transgenic mouse.
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