In cerebellum-like circuits, synapses from thousands of granule cells converge onto principal cells. This fact, combined with theoretical considerations, has led to the concept that granule cells encode afferent input as a population and that spiking in individual granule cells is relatively unimportant. However, granule cells also provide excitatory input to Golgi cells, each of which provide inhibition to hundreds of granule cells. We investigated whether spiking in individual granule cells could recruit Golgi cells and thereby trigger widespread inhibition in slices of mouse cochlear nucleus. Using paired whole-cell patch-clamp recordings, trains of action potentials at 100 Hz in single granule cells was sufficient to evoke spikes in Golgi cells in _40% of paired granule-to-Golgi cell recordings. High-frequency spiking in single granule cells evoked IPSCs in_5% of neighboring granule cells, indicating that bursts of activity in single granule cells can recruit feedback inhibition from Golgi cells. Moreover, IPSPs mediated by single Golgi cell action potentials paused granule cell firing, suggesting that inhibitory events recruited by activity in single granule cells were able to control granule cell firing. These results suggest a previously unappreciated relationship between population coding and bursting in single granule cells by which spiking in a small number of granule cells may have an impact on the activity of a much larger number of granule cells.
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