Topography and reciprocal activity of cerebellar Purkinje cells in the uvula-nodulus modulated by vestibular stimulation

H. Fushiki, N. H. Barmack

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81 Scopus citations


In the rabbit uvula-nodulus, vestibular and optokinetic information is mapped onto parasagittal zones by climbing fibers. These zones are related functionally to different pairs of vertical semicircular canals, otolithic inputs and horizontal optokinetic inputs. Vestibular stimulation restricted to one of these zones modulates climbing fiber responses (CFRs). Within each of these zones, simple spikes (SSs) are modulated reciprocally with CFRs. In rabbits anesthetized with chloralose-urethan, we have used vestibular and optokinetic stimulation to evoke CFRs within a parasagittal zone while recording from Purkinje cells in adjacent zones. We have examined whether the CFRs evoked by vestibular stimulation in one zone influence the SSs of an adjacent zone. CFRs and SSs were recorded during roll vestibular stimulation. The orientation of the head of the rabbit with respect to the axis of rotation was varied systematically so that a climbing fiber null plane could be determined. This null plane was the orientation of the head about the vertical axis at which no modulation of the CFR was observed during rotation about the longitudinal axis of the vestibular rate table. In the left uvula- nodulus, a medial sagittal strip extending through all the folia contained Purkinje cells with CFRs that had optimal planes of stimulation coplanar with the left posterior-right anterior semicircular canals (L(PC)-R(AC)). Lateral to this strip was a strip of Purkinje cells with CFRs that were characterized by optimal planes corresponding to stimulation of the left anterior-right posterior semicircular canals (L(AC-R(PC))). SSs in Purkinje cells were modulated out of phase with CFRs from the same Purkinje cell. The depth of modulation of both CFRs and SSs was reduced during rotation in the climbing fiber 'null plane'. The depth of modulation of SSs was greatest when recorded from Purkinje cells located at the center of semicircular canal-related strip. We observed that 1) all folia of the uvula-nodulus receive vestibular climbing fiber inputs; 2) these climbing fiber inputs convey information from the vertical semicircular canals and otoliths but not the horizontal semicircular canals; 3) CFRs evoked in a particular sagittal zone do not influence SSs in adjacent zones; 4) modulation of a CFRs in a particular Purkinje cell can occur without modulation of SSs in the same Purkinje cell, although modulation of SSs was not observed in the absence of CFR modulation; and 5) modulation of SSs sometimes preceded that of CFRs in the same cell, implying that interneuronal pathways may contribute to SS modulation. Climbing fiber-driven Golgi cells, the inhibitory axon terminals of which end on granule cell dendrites in the classic glomerular synapse, may provide this interneuronal mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3083-3094
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Physiology


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