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Forero-Vivas, Maria E; Hernandez-Cruz, Arturo (2014)

INCREASED FIRING FREQUENCY OF SPONTANEOUS ACTION POTENTIALS IN CEREBELLAR PURKINJE NEURONS OF DB/DB MICE RESULTS FROM ALTERED AUTO-RHYTHMICITY AND DIMINISHED GABAERGIC TONIC INHIBITION

Gen. Physiol. Biophys. 33(1):29-41
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The hormone leptin, by binding to hypothalamic receptors, suppresses food intake and decreases body adiposity. Leptin receptors are also widely expressed in extra-hypothalamic areas such as hippocampus, amygdala and cerebellum, where leptin modulates synaptic transmission. Here we show that a defective leptin receptor affects the electrophysiological properties of cerebellar Purkinje neurons (PNs). PNs from (db/db) mice recorded in cerebellar slices display a higher firing rate of spontaneous action potentials than PNs from wild type (WT) mice. Blockade of GABAergic tonic inhibition with bicuculline in WT mice changes the firing pattern from continuous, uninterrupted spiking into bursting firing, but bicuculline does not produce these alterations in db/db neurons, suggesting that they receive a weaker GABAergic inhibitory input. Our results also show that the intrinsic firing properties (auto-rhythmicity) of WT and db/db PNs are different. Tonic firing of PNs, the only efferent output from the cerebellar cortex, is a persistent signal to downstream cerebellar targets. The significance of leptin modulation of PNs spontaneous firing is not known. Also, it is not clear if the increased excitability of cerebellar PNs in db/db mice results from hyperglycemia or from the lack of leptin signaling, since both conditions coexist in the db/db strain.