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J Neurobiol. 1976 Nov;7(6):567-78.

Evidence for a multiple innervation of Purkinje cells by climbing fibers in the immature rat cerebellum.


Climbing fiber (CF)-Purkinje cell (PC) relationship were studied electrophysiologically on the cerebellum of 8 to 15 day old rats. Some animals were rendered agranular by x-irradiation from birth; some others were treated with 3-acetyl pyridine 3 days before study to selectively destroy the CF. Unitary extracellular recordings in 8-9 day old normal rats revealed that more than 50% of the PC units each exhibited either two types of all-or-none climbing fiber responses (CFR) or stepwise graded CFRs. The other PC units only presented one type of all-or-none CFR. These activities were entirely mediated via CF since they persisted at the same age in x-irradiated rats, but were absent in animals treated with 3-acetyl pyridine. Interaction experiments were performed between juxtafastigial and Inferior Olive stimulations on 49 PC units in 8-9 day old normal rats. Collisions between impulses set up in CFs were disclosed in 21 out of the 24 PCs which exhibited only one type of CFR. In the three others and in each of the 25 PCs that displayed two types of all-or-none CFRs, or CFRs graded by steps, no collision was detected. Moreover intracellular recordings of epsp's mediated via CFs in PCs of 8-9 day old normal rats revealed that they frequently fluctuated in stepwise fashion. These results demonstrate that in the immature rat more than 50% of PCs are each innervated by at least two distinct CFs; later on, the disappearance of the supernumerary synapses between CF and PC leads, as early as day 15, to the one-to-one relationship between CF and PC.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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