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Nat Neurosci. 2008 Oct;11(10):1185-92. doi: 10.1038/nn.2197. Epub 2008 Sep 21.

Links from complex spikes to local plasticity and motor learning in the cerebellum of awake-behaving monkeys.

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Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, 3720 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.

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  • Nat Neurosci. 2009 Jun;12(6):808.


The hypothesis of cerebellar learning proposes that complex spikes in Purkinje cells engage mechanisms of plasticity in the cerebellar cortex; in turn, changes in the cerebellum depress the simple-spike response of Purkinje cells to a given stimulus and cause the adaptive modification of a motor behavior. Many elements of this hypothesis have been supported by prior experiments, and correlations have been found [corrected] between complex spikes, simple-spike plasticity and behavior [corrected] during the learning process. We carried out a trial-by-trial analysis of Purkinje cell responses in awake-behaving monkeys and found evidence for a causal role for complex spikes in the induction of cerebellar plasticity during a simple motor learning task. We found that the presence of a complex spike on one learning trial was linked to a substantial depression of simple-spike responses on the subsequent trial, at a time when behavioral learning was expressed.

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