Synaptic Specializations Support Frequency-Independent Purkinje Cell Output from the Cerebellar Cortex

Josef Turecek, Skyler L. Jackman, Wade G. Regehr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


The output of the cerebellar cortex is conveyed to the deep cerebellar nuclei (DCN) by Purkinje cells (PCs). Here, we characterize the properties of the PC-DCN synapse in juvenile and adult mice and find that prolonged high-frequency stimulation leads to steady-state responses that become increasingly frequency independent within the physiological firing range of PCs in older animals, resulting in a linear relationship between charge transfer and activation frequency. We used a low-affinity antagonist to show that GABAA-receptor saturation occurs at this synapse but does not underlie frequency-invariant transmission. We propose that PC-DCN synapses have two components of release: one prominent early in trains and another specialized to maintain transmission during prolonged activation. Short-term facilitation offsets partial vesicle depletion to produce frequency-independent transmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3256-3268
Number of pages13
JournalCell Reports
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 20 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Purkinje cells
  • cerebellum
  • deep cerebellar nucleus
  • presynaptic
  • receptor saturation
  • recovery from depression
  • short-term facilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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