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J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2010 Feb;30(2):403-14. doi: 10.1038/jcbfm.2009.231. Epub 2009 Nov 4.

The energy use associated with neural computation in the cerebellum.

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Department of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology, University College London, London, UK.


The brain's energy supply determines its information processing power, and generates functional imaging signals, which are often assumed to reflect principal neuron spiking. Using measured cellular properties, we analysed how energy expenditure relates to neural computation in the cerebellar cortex. Most energy is used on information processing by non-principal neurons: Purkinje cells use only 18% of the signalling energy. Excitatory neurons use 73% and inhibitory neurons 27% of the energy. Despite markedly different computational architectures, the granular and molecular layers consume approximately the same energy. The blood vessel area supplying glucose and O(2) is spatially matched to energy consumption. The energy cost of storing motor information in the cerebellum was also estimated.

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