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Nature communications

Dendritic excitation-inhibition balance shapes cerebellar output during motor behaviour.


PMID 27976716

Abstract

Feedforward excitatory and inhibitory circuits regulate cerebellar output, but how these circuits interact to shape the somatodendritic excitability of Purkinje cells during motor behaviour remains unresolved. Here we perform dendritic and somatic patch-clamp recordings in vivo combined with optogenetic silencing of interneurons to investigate how dendritic excitation and inhibition generates bidirectional (that is, increased or decreased) Purkinje cell output during self-paced locomotion. We find that granule cells generate a sustained depolarization of Purkinje cell dendrites during movement, which is counterbalanced by variable levels of feedforward inhibition from local interneurons. Subtle differences in the dendritic excitation-inhibition balance generate robust, bidirectional changes in simple spike (SSp) output. Disrupting this balance by selectively silencing molecular layer interneurons results in unidirectional firing rate changes, increased SSp regularity and disrupted locomotor behaviour. Our findings provide a mechanistic understanding of how feedforward excitatory and inhibitory circuits shape Purkinje cell output during motor behaviour.

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