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PLoS Comput Biol. 2010 Apr 29;6(4):e1000768. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000768.

A new approach for determining phase response curves reveals that Purkinje cells can act as perfect integrators.

Author information

1
Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research and Department of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology, University College London, London, United Kingdom. e.phoka07@imperial.ac.uk

Abstract

Cerebellar Purkinje cells display complex intrinsic dynamics. They fire spontaneously, exhibit bistability, and via mutual network interactions are involved in the generation of high frequency oscillations and travelling waves of activity. To probe the dynamical properties of Purkinje cells we measured their phase response curves (PRCs). PRCs quantify the change in spike phase caused by a stimulus as a function of its temporal position within the interspike interval, and are widely used to predict neuronal responses to more complex stimulus patterns. Significant variability in the interspike interval during spontaneous firing can lead to PRCs with a low signal-to-noise ratio, requiring averaging over thousands of trials. We show using electrophysiological experiments and simulations that the PRC calculated in the traditional way by sampling the interspike interval with brief current pulses is biased. We introduce a corrected approach for calculating PRCs which eliminates this bias. Using our new approach, we show that Purkinje cell PRCs change qualitatively depending on the firing frequency of the cell. At high firing rates, Purkinje cells exhibit single-peaked, or monophasic PRCs. Surprisingly, at low firing rates, Purkinje cell PRCs are largely independent of phase, resembling PRCs of ideal non-leaky integrate-and-fire neurons. These results indicate that Purkinje cells can act as perfect integrators at low firing rates, and that the integration mode of Purkinje cells depends on their firing rate.

PMID:
20442875
PMCID:
PMC2861707
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000768
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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