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Freek HOEBEEK "How calcium regulates information processing in the cerebellum"

Abstract :


It has been known for decades that calcium regulates information processing in the cerebellum, but how this comes about remains to be elucidated.
Using various genetic approaches we study specific aspects of calcium homeostasis in the cerebellum. For instance, by cell-specific mutations we can change the calcium buffering capacity or the calcium influx into cerebellar neurons. Our main focus is the central neuron of the cerebellar cortex, the Purkinje cell, which solely forms the output of the cerebellar cortex and projects to the cerebellar and vestibular nuclei. Using various electrophysiological and behavioral assessments we study the effect of alterations in calcium homeostasis on cerebellar function. For instance, we use whole-cell patch-clamp recordings to study both the synaptic transmission upon and the intrinsic activity patterns of Purkinje cells in vitro. In addition we record single-unit activity patterns in awake and behaving mice in order to study the activity patterns and their relation to motor behavior. Our results show that changes in calcium homeostasis alter the information coding in the cerebellum by deregulating (i.e., increasing the noise level in) the firing pattern of Purkinje cells and thereby cause aberrant motor behavior. Thus, we study the effects of mutations calcium homeostasis genes at the cell-physiological, systems, and behavioral level.

Selected publications

De Zeeuw Chris I; Hoebeek Freek E; Schonewille Martijn"Causes and consequences of oscillations in the cerebellar cortex."
Neuron 2008;58(5):655-8.

Hoebeek et al., Neuron, 2005
Steuber et al., Neuron, 2007

Eric Hosy