Active dendrites and differential distribution of calcium channels enable functional compartmentalization of golgi cells

Stephanie Rudolph, Court Hull, Wade G. Regehr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Interneurons are essential to controlling excitability, timing, and synaptic integration in neuronal networks. Golgi cells (GoCs) serve these roles at the input layer of the cerebellar cortex by releasing GABA to inhibit granule cells (grcs). GoCs are excited by mossy fibers (MFs) and grcs and provide feedforward and feedback inhibition to grcs. Here we investigate two important aspects of GoC physiology: the properties of GoC dendrites and the role of calcium signaling in regulating GoC spontaneous activity. Although GoC dendrites are extensive, previous studies concluded they are devoid of voltage-gated ion channels. Hence, the current view holds that somatic voltage signals decay passively within GoC dendrites, and grc synapses onto distal dendrites are not amplified and are therefore ineffective at firing GoCs because of strong passive attenuation. Using whole-cell recording and calcium imaging in rat slices, we find that dendritic voltage-gated sodium channels allow somatic action potentials to activate voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) along the entire dendritic length, with R-type and T-typeVGCCspreferentially located distally.Weshow that R-and T-typeVGCCslocated in the dendrites can boost distal synaptic inputs and promote burst firing. Active dendrites are thus critical to the regulation of GoC activity, and consequently, to the processing of input to the cerebellar cortex. In contrast, we find that N-type channels are preferentially located near the soma, and control the frequency and pattern of spontaneous firing through their close association with calcium-activated potassium (KCa) channels. Thus, VGCC types are differentially distributed and serve specialized functions within GoCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15492-15504
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number47
StatePublished - Nov 25 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Calcium buffering
  • Calcium channels
  • Calcium-activated potassium channels
  • Cerebellum
  • Dendritic excitability
  • Interneuron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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