The cerebellar cortex computes sensorimotor information from many brain areas through a feedforward inhibitory (FFI) microcircuit between the input stage, the granule cell (GC) layer, and the output stage, the Purkinje cells (PCs). Although in other brain areas FFI underlies a precise excitation versus inhibition temporal correlation, recent findings in the cerebellum highlighted more complex behaviors at GC–molecular layer interneuron (MLI)–PC pathway. To dissect the temporal organization of this cerebellar FFI pathway, we combined ex vivo patch-clamp recordings of PCs in male mice with a viral-based strategy to express Channelrhodopsin2 in a subset of mossy fibers (MFs), the major excitatory inputs to GCs. We show that although light-mediated MF activation elicited pairs of excitatory and inhibitory postsynaptic currents in PCs, excitation (E) from GCs and inhibition (I) from MLIs reached PCs with a wide range of different temporal delays. However, when GCs were directly stimulated, a low variability in E/I delays was observed. Our results demonstrate that in many recordings MF stimulation recruited different groups of GCs that trigger E and/or I, and expanded PC temporal synaptic integration. Finally, using a computational model of the FFI pathway, we showed that this temporal expansion could strongly influence how PCs integrate GC inputs. Our findings show that specific E/I delays may help PCs encoding specific MF inputs.
SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Sensorimotor information is conveyed to the cerebellar cortex by mossy fibers. Mossy fiber inputs activate granule cells that excite molecular interneurons and Purkinje cells, the sole output of the cerebellar cortex, leading to a sequence of synaptic excitation and inhibition in Purkinje cells, thus defining a feedforward inhibitory pathway. Using electrophysiological recordings, optogenetic stimulation, and mathematical modeling, we demonstrated that different groups of granule cells can elicit synaptic excitation and inhibition with various latencies onto Purkinje cells. This temporal variability controls how granule cells influence Purkinje cell discharge and may support temporal coding in the cerebellar cortex.

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This post is Copyright: Binda, F., Spaeth, L., Kumar, A., Isope, P. | August 17, 2023
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