Beyond parallel fiber LTD: The diversity of synaptic and non-synaptic plasticity in the cerebellum

Christian Hansel, David J. Linden, Egidio D'Angelo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

472 Scopus citations


In recent years, it has become clear that motor learning, as revealed by associative eyelid conditioning and adaptation of the vestibulo-ocular reflex, contributes to the well-established cerebellar functions of sensorimotor integration and control. Long-term depression of the parallel fiber-Purkinje cell synapse (which is often called 'cerebellar LTD') is a cellular phenomenon that has been suggested to underlie these forms of learning. However, it is clear that parallel fiber LTD, by itself, cannot account for all the properties of cerebellar motor learning. Here we review recent electrophysiological experiments that have described a rich variety of use-dependent plasticity in cerebellum, including long-term potentiation (LTP) and LTD of excitatory and inhibitory synapses, and persistent modulation of intrinsic neuronal excitability. Finally, using associative eyelid conditioning as an example, we propose some ideas about how these cellular phenomena might function and interact to endow the cerebellar circuit with particular computational and mnemonic properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-475
Number of pages9
JournalNature neuroscience
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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