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Title: Dendritic spikes control synaptic plasticity and somatic output in cerebellar Purkinje cells
Author: Rancz, Ede Attila
ISNI:       0000 0004 2673 1805
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2007
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Neurons receive the vast majority of their input onto their dendrites. Dendrites express a plethora of voltage-gated channels. Regenerative, local events in dendrites and their role in the information transformation in single neurons are, however, poorly understood. This thesis investigates the basic properties and functional roles of dendritic spikes in cerebellar Purkinje cells using whole-cell patch clamp recordings from the dendrites and soma of rat Purkinje cells in brain slices. I show that parallel fibre (PF) evoked dendritic spikes are mediated by calcium channels, depend on membrane potential and stimulus intensity and are highly localized to the spiny branches receiving the synaptic input. A determining factor in the localization and spread of dendritic calcium spikes is the activation of large-conductance, calcium dependent potassium (BK) channels. I provide a strong link between dendritic spikes and the endocannabinoid dependent short-term synaptic plasticity, depolarization-induced suppression of excitation (DSE). Gating the dendritic spikes using stimulus intensity or membrane potential, I show that the threshold of DSE is identical to that of the dendritic spikes and the extent of DSE depends on the number of dendritic spikes. Blocking BK channels increases the spatial spread of dendritic spikes and enables current injection or climbing fibre (CF) evoked dendritic spikes to suppress PF inputs via DSE. By monitoring dendritic spikes during strong PF stimulation-induced long-term depression (LTD), I also provide a link between long-term synaptic plasticity and dendritic excitability. By showing that blocking CB1 cannabinoid receptors reduces the intensity requirement for LTD, I provide a connection between the short- and long-term changes in PF strength triggered by dendritic spikes I also investigate the effect dendritic spikes have on somatic action potential output. Contrary to pyramidal cells, where dendritic spikes boost the output of the neuron, the average Purkinje cell output becomes independent from the output strength for inputs triggering dendritic spikes. However, the temporal pattern of the output is strongly affected by dendritic spikes. I show that this phenomenon depends on BK channel activation resulting in a pause in somatic firing following dendritic spikes. In summary, I present a description of PF evoked local dendritic spikes and demonstrate their functional role in controlling the synaptic input and action potential output of cerebellar Purkinje cells.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available