Calcium transients in cerebellar Purkinje neurons evoked by intracellular stimulation. Academic Article uri icon


  • 1. Purkinje cells in thin slices from the guinea pig cerebellum were injected with fura-2 and high-speed sequences of fluorescence images from the cell body and entire dendritic tree were made while simultaneously recording somatic membrane potential during evoked and spontaneous electrical activity. The changes in fluorescence were interpreted in terms of changes in [Ca2+]i. 2. Individual calcium action potentials were usually accompanied by transient increases in [Ca2+]i all over the dendritic field. During evoked or spontaneous bursts of calcium spikes, [Ca2+]i increased more rapidly and to higher concentrations in fine dendrites than in thicker dendrites. At the end of a burst [Ca2+]i declined faster in thin dendrites than in thicker ones. These variations are most easily understood as deriving from the difference in surface-to-volume ratio of the two kinds of dendrites. 3. During bursts of calcium action potentials [Ca2+]i increases sometimes occurred only in individual dendritic branches, but always including the fine dendrites of that particular branch, showing that calcium action potentials can be regenerative in restrictive parts of the dendritic field without involving the soma or dendritic shaft. 4. Plateau or subthreshold potential changes evoked in the presence of tetrodotoxin (TTX) caused small, widespread increases in [Ca2+]i. The amplitude of these changes was much less than the increase corresponding to spike bursts. The distribution of these plateau Ca signals in thick and thin dendrites was similar to Ca spike-evoked signals, suggesting that the Ca conductances underlying these two potentials are the same or are distributed similarly in the dendrites. 5. Significant increases in [Ca2+]i in the soma were recorded during bursts of sodium-dependent action potentials in normal Ringer. Although much of this increase is due to calcium entry through calcium channels, some of this increase could be due to calcium entry through sodium channels.

publication date

  • October 1992