Signals and circuits in the Purkinje neuro

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Purkinje neurons (PN) in the cerebellum have over 100,000 inputs organized in an orthogonal geometry, and a single output channel. As the sole output of the cerebellar cortex layer, their complex firing pattern has been associated with motor control and learning. As such they have been extensively modeled and measured using tools ranging from electrophysi-ology and neuroanatomy, to dynamic systems and artificial intelligence methods. However, there is an alternative approach to analyze and describe the neuronal output of these cells using concepts from electrical engineering, particularly signal processing and digital/analog circuits. By viewing the PN as an unknown circuit to be reverse-engineered, we can use the tools that provide the foundations of today's integrated circuits and communication systems to analyze the Purkinje system at the circuit level. We use Fourier transforms to analyze and isolate the inherent frequency modes in the PN and define three unique frequency ranges associated with the cells' output. Comparing the PN to a signal generator that can be externally modulated adds an entire level of complexity to the functional role of these neurons both in terms of data analysis and information processing, relying on Fourier analysis methods in place of statistical ones. We also re-describe some of the recent literature in the field, using the nomenclature of signal processing. Furthermore, by comparing the experimental data of the past decade with basic electronic circuitry, we can resolve the outstanding controversy in the field, by recognizing that the PN can act as a multivibrator circuit © 2011 Abrams and Zhang.




Abrams, Z. R., & Zhang, X. (2011). Signals and circuits in the Purkinje neuro. Frontiers in Neural Circuits, 5(SEP).

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