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J Neurophysiol. 1994 Jan;71(1):401-19.

An active membrane model of the cerebellar Purkinje cell II. Simulation of synaptic responses.

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Division of Biology 216-76, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena 91125.


1. Both excitatory and inhibitory postsynaptic channels were added to a previously described complex compartmental model of a cerebellar Purkinje cell to examine model responses to synaptic inputs. All model parameters remained as described previously, leaving maximum synaptic conductance as the only parameter that was tuned in the studies described in this paper. Under these conditions the model was capable of reproducing physiological recorded responses to each of the major types of synaptic input. 2. When excitatory synapses were activated on the smooth dendrites of the model, the model generated a complex dendritic Ca2+ spike similar to that generated by climbing fiber inputs. Examination of the model showed that activation of P-type Ca2+ channels in both the smooth and spiny dendrites augmented the depolarization during the complex spike and that Ca(2+)-activated K+ channels in the same dendritic regions determined the duration of the spike. When these synapses were activated under simulated current-clamp conditions the model also generated the characteristic dual reversal potential of the complex spike. The shape of the dendritic complex spike could be altered by changing the maximum conductance of the climbing fiber synapse and thus the amount of Ca2+ entering the cell. 3. To explore the background simple spike firing properties of Purkinje cells in vivo we added excitatory "parallel fiber" synapses to the spiny dendritic branches of the model. Continuous asynchronous activation of these granule cell synapses resulted in the generation of spontaneous sodium spikes. However, very low asynchronous input frequencies produced a highly regular, very fast rhythm (80-120 Hz), whereas slightly higher input frequencies resulted in Purkinje cell bursting. Both types of activity are uncharacteristic of in vivo Purkinje cell recordings. 4. Inhibitory synapses of the sort presumably generated by stellate cells were also added to the dendritic tree. When asynchronous activation of these inhibitory synapses was combined with continuous asynchronous excitatory input the model generated somatic action potentials in a much more stochastic pattern typical of real Purkinje cells. Under these conditions simulated inter-spike interval distributions resembled those found in experimental recordings. Also, as with in vivo recordings, the model did not generate dendritic bursts. This was mainly due to inhibition that suppressed the generation of dendritic Ca2+ spikes. 5. In the presence of asynchronous inhibition, changes in the average frequency of excitatory inputs modulated background simple spike firing frequencies in the natural range of Purkinje cell firing frequencies (30-100 Hz). This modulation was very sensitive to small changes in the average frequency of excitatory inputs.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

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