BME Seminar February 12, 2016

Eric Lang, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Physiology & Neuroscience
NYU School of Medicine


Synchrony is key.  Complex Spike Inhibition of The Deep Cerebellar Nuclei


The cerebellum is essential for motor coordination and many other cognitive functions.  Yet, exactly what it contributes to these functions remains much debated.  The output from the cerebellum arises primarily from the deep cerebellar nuclei, and thus a step toward understanding the cerebellum's contributions to brain function would be to determine how deep cerebellar nuclear activity is controlled, something that is also poorly understood.  The large majority of synapses onto deep cerebellar nuclear neurons derive from Purkinje cells, suggesting that Purkinje cell activity is an important determinant of nuclear cell firing; however, the transform from Purkinje cell to nuclear cell activity is not straightforward, as Purkinje cells fire two types of action potentials, simple and complex spikes.  In particular, little is known about the  effect of complex spikes on nuclear cell activity.  In the talk I will discuss results on the role of complex spike firing patterns in modulating nuclear cell activity.  In particular, I will discuss the role that synchronization has in allowing complex spike activity to have a distinct effect from that of simple spikes.