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Abrams, Ze'ev R.; Warrier, Ajithkumar; Trauner, Dirk; Zhang, Xiang (May 2010): A signal processing analysis of Purkinje cells in vitro. In: Frontiers in Neural Circuits, Vol. 4, 13


Cerebellar Purkinje cells in vitro fire recurrent sequences of Sodium and Calcium spikes. Here, we analyze the Purkinje cell using harmonic analysis, and our experiments reveal that its output signal is comprised of three distinct frequency bands, which are combined using Amplitude and Frequency Modulation (AM/FM). We find that the three characteristic frequencies - Sodium, Calcium and Switching-occur in various combinations in all waveforms observed using whole-cell current clamp recordings. We found that the Calcium frequency can display a frequency doubling of its frequency mode, and the Switching frequency can act as a possible generator of pauses that are typically seen in Purkinje output recordings. Using a reversibly photo-switchable kainate receptor agonist, we demonstrate the external modulation of the Calcium and Switching frequencies. These experiments and Fourier analysis suggest that the Purkinje cell can be understood as a harmonic signal oscillator, enabling a higher level of interpretation of Purkinje signaling based on modern signal processing techniques.