Traveling waves in developing cerebellar cortex mediated by asymmetrical Purkinje cell connectivity

Alanna J. Watt, Hermann Cuntz, Masahiro Mori, Zoltan Nusser, P. Jesper Sjöström, Michael Häusser

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109 Citations (Scopus)


Correlated network activity is important in the development of many neural circuits. Purkinje cells are among the first neurons to populate the cerebellar cortex, where they sprout exuberant axon collaterals. We used multiple patch-clamp recordings targeted with two-photon microscopy to characterize monosynaptic connections between the Purkinje cells of juvenile mice. We found that Purkinje cell axon collaterals projected asymmetrically in the sagittal plane, directed away from the lobule apex. On the basis of our anatomical and physiological characterization of this connection, we constructed a network model that robustly generated waves of activity that traveled along chains of connected Purkinje cells. Consistent with the model, we observed traveling waves of activity in Purkinje cells in sagittal slices from young mice that require GABA(A) receptor-mediated transmission and intact Purkinje cell axon collaterals. These traveling waves are absent in adult mice, suggesting they have a developmental role in wiring the cerebellar cortical microcircuit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-473
Number of pages11
JournalNature Neuroscience
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2009


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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