Firing rate-dependent phase responses of Purkinje cells support transient oscillations

Elife. 2020 Sep 8;9:e60692. doi: 10.7554/eLife.60692.


Both spike rate and timing can transmit information in the brain. Phase response curves (PRCs) quantify how a neuron transforms input to output by spike timing. PRCs exhibit strong firing-rate adaptation, but its mechanism and relevance for network output are poorly understood. Using our Purkinje cell (PC) model, we demonstrate that the rate adaptation is caused by rate-dependent subthreshold membrane potentials efficiently regulating the activation of Na+ channels. Then, we use a realistic PC network model to examine how rate-dependent responses synchronize spikes in the scenario of reciprocal inhibition-caused high-frequency oscillations. The changes in PRC cause oscillations and spike correlations only at high firing rates. The causal role of the PRC is confirmed using a simpler coupled oscillator network model. This mechanism enables transient oscillations between fast-spiking neurons that thereby form PC assemblies. Our work demonstrates that rate adaptation of PRCs can spatio-temporally organize the PC input to cerebellar nuclei.

Keywords: Purkinje cell; network oscillations; neuroscience; phase response curve; rat; rate adaptation; reciprocal inhibition; transient assembly.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebellar Nuclei / cytology
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Purkinje Cells* / metabolism
  • Purkinje Cells* / physiology
  • Sodium Channels / metabolism
  • Sodium Channels / physiology


  • Sodium Channels

Grant support

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.