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Commun Integr Biol. 2014 Dec 31;7(6):e994376. doi: 10.4161/19420889.2014.994376. eCollection 2014 Dec.

Theoretical considerations for understanding a Purkinje cell timing mechanism.

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Associative Learning Group; Department of Experimental Medical Science; Lund University ; Lund, Sweden ; The Linnaeus Center Thinking in Time: Cognition; Communication & Learning; Lund University ; Lund, Sweden.


In classical conditioning, cerebellar Purkinje cells learn an adaptively timed pause in spontaneous firing. This pause reaches its maximum near the end of the interstimulus interval. While it was thought that this timing was due to temporal patterns in the input signal and selective engagement of changes in synapse strength, we have shown Purkinje cells learn timed responses even when the conditional stimulus is delivered to its immediate afferents.(1) This shows that Purkinje cells have a cellular timing mechanism. The cellular models of intrinsic timing we are aware of are based on adapting the rise time of the concentration of a given ion. As an alternative, we here propose a selection mechanism in abstract terms for how a Purkinje cell could learn to respond at a particular time after an external trigger.


cerebellum; control; eyeblink conditioning; glutamate transmission; purkinje cell; temporal timing

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