Synaptic Specializations Support Frequency-Independent Purkinje Cell Output from the Cerebellar Cortex

Josef Turecek, Skyler Jackman, Wade G. Regehr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations


The output of the cerebellar cortex is conveyed to the deep cerebellar nuclei (DCN) by Purkinje cells (PCs). Here, we characterize the properties of the PC-DCN synapse in juvenile and adult mice and find that prolonged high-frequency stimulation leads to steady-state responses that become increasingly frequency independent within the physiological firing range of PCs in older animals, resulting in a linear relationship between charge transfer and activation frequency. We used a low-affinity antagonist to show that GABAA-receptor saturation occurs at this synapse but does not underlie frequency-invariant transmission. We propose that PC-DCN synapses have two components of release: one prominent early in trains and another specialized to maintain transmission during prolonged activation. Short-term facilitation offsets partial vesicle depletion to produce frequency-independent transmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3256-3268
Number of pages13
JournalCell Reports
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 20 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • cerebellum
  • deep cerebellar nucleus
  • presynaptic
  • Purkinje cells
  • receptor saturation
  • recovery from depression
  • short-term facilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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