Purkinje cells (PCs) generate two types of action potentials, called simple and complex spikes (SSs and CSs). We first investigated the CS-associated modulation of SS activity and its relationship to the zebrin status of the PC. The modulation pattern consisted of a pre-CS rise in SS activity, and then, following the CS, a pause, a rebound, and finally a late inhibition of SS activity for both zebrin positive (Z+) and negative (Z-) cells, though the amplitudes of the phases were larger in Z+ cells. Moreover, the amplitudes of the pre-CS rise with the late inhibitory phase of the modulation were correlated across PCs. In contrast, correlations between modulation phases across CSs of individual PCs were generally weak. Next, the relationship between CS spikelets and SS activity was investigated. The number of spikelets/CS correlated with the average SS firing rate only for Z+ cells. In contrast, correlations across CSs between spikelet numbers and the amplitudes of the SS modulation phases were generally weak. Division of spikelets into likely axonally propagated and non-propagated groups (based on their interspikelet interval) showed that the correlation of spikelet number with SS firing rate primarily reflected a relationship with non-propagated spikelets. In sum, the results show that both zebrin-related and non-zebrin-related physiological heterogeneity in SS-CS interactions among PCs, which suggests that the cerebellar cortex is more functionally diverse than is assumed by standard theories of cerebellar function.
- Inferior olive