The Effect of Input from the Cerebellar Nuclei on Activity in Thalamocortical Networks
The cerebellum is a prominent brain structure that contains more than half of all neurons, in the brain, which are densely packed and make up 15% of the total brain mass (Andersen et al., 1992). It is well known for its contribution to the control of motor functions, but it also plays a pivotal role in non-motor behaviours. The cerebellum is also involved in numerous pathological conditions. This thesis contributes to the understanding of the pathophysiology of the cerebello-thalamo-cortical pathways. I concentrate on two cerebellar diseases, namely: absence epilepsy (Noebels, 2005) and downbeat nystagmus (DBN) (Strupp et al., 2007). In this thesis the missing link in explaining the alleviating mechanism of a potassium channel blocker on downbeat nystagmus was found. A simulated single biologically detailed floccular target neuron (FTN) model was stimulated by input from cerebellar Purkinje cells (PCs). It was demonstrated that for both synchronised and unsynchronised input, irregular PC spike trains (which resembles the DBN condition) resulted in elevated FTN firing rates, in comparison with regular (4-AP treated) ones. This increase or decrease of the FTN firing rates during DBN, or after 4-AP treatment, respectively depended on short term depression (STD) at the PC - FTN synapses exclusively in the cases when the PC input was unsynchronised. In contrast, results of previous modelling studies (Glasauer et al, 2011; Glasauer and Rossert, 2008) were not in-line with the corresponding experimental findings (Alvina and Khodakhah, 2010) because they did not take into account the STD on the FTN-PC synapses. It was also demonstrated here that the cerebellar output contributes to the control of absence epilepsy that originates in the thalamocortical network. Moreover, the cerebellar input was most effective when it arrived at the peak of the GSWD burst, with the least effective input arriving during the inter-ictal interval, showing clear phase-dependency. I have also shown that a three-fold increase in the inhibitory time constant, drives the asynchronous-irregular network into an ictal state. This increase reflects the GABAA block. A change to GABAB dominated inhibition results in GSWDs, in which the “wave” component is related to the slow GABAB-mediated K+ currents (Destexhe, 1998). Therefore, in this thesis two important contributions are made to the understanding of cerebellar pathological states: absence epilepsy and DBN, which might in turn be useful in the potential treatment of these conditions.
MetadataShow full item record
The following license files are associated with this item: