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Cerebellum. 2006;5(4):243-56.

Synaptic organization of the mouse cerebellar cortex in organotypic slice cultures.

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  • 1Institut des Neurosciences Cellulaires et Intégratives, UMR 7168 LC2 CNRS/ULP, Department of Neurotransmission et Sécrétion Neuroendocrine, Centre de Neurochimie, Strasbourg Cedex, France.


The cellular and synaptic organization of new born mouse cerebellum maintained in organotypic slice cultures was investigated using immunohistochemical and patch-clamp recording approaches. The histological organization of the cultures shared many features with that observed in situ. Purkinje cells were generally arranged in a monolayer surrounded by a molecular-like neuropil made of Purkinje cell dendritic arborizations. Purkinje cell axons ran between clusters of small round cells identified as granule cells by Kv3.1b potassium channel immunolabelling. The terminal varicosities of the Purkinje cells axons enwrapped presumptive neurons of the cerebellar nuclei whereas their recurrent collaterals were in contact with Purkinje cells and other neurons. Granule cell axons established contacts with Purkinje cell somata and dendrites. Parvalbumin and glutamine acid decarboxylase (GAD) immunohistochemistry revealed the presence of presumptive interneurons throughout the culture. The endings of granule cell axons were observed to be in contact with these interneurons. Similarly, interneurons endings were seen close to Purkinje cells and granule cells. Whole cell recordings from Purkinje cell somata showed AMPA receptor-mediated spontaneous excitatory post-synaptic currents (sEPSCs) and GABAA receptor-mediated spontaneous inhibitory post-synaptic currents (sIPSCs). Similar events were recorded from granule cell somata except that in this neuronal type EPSPs have both a NMDA component and an AMPA component. In addition, pharmacological experiments demonstrated a GABAergic control of granule cell activity and a glutamatergic control of GABAergic neurons by granule cells. This study shows that a functional neuronal network is established in such organotypic cultures even in the absence of the two normal excitatory afferents, the mossy fibers and the climbing fibers.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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