Optical measurements of synchronized activity in isolated mammalian cerebellum

D. Cohen, Y. Yarom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


An experimental system that combines optical imaging of voltage- sensitive dyes with an in vitro isolated cerebellum preparation is described. The optical imaging system is based on a photodiode array and two rather simple amplification stages. The isolated cerebellum preparation preserves the integrity of the neuronal circuitry, thus allowing the exploration of the path of information flow. In this study, we characterize the nature and sources of the optical signal evoked in the cerebellar cortex by surface stimulation. We show that this signal reflects inhibitory and excitatory synaptic potentials generated by cell bodies and dendrites of cortical neurons, whereas action potentials of the parallel fibers are not detected by the system. The spatial distribution of the optical signals agrees with the classical view of cerebellar activity following surface stimulation. Hence, this experimental system provides a powerful means to explore the functional organization, in time and space, of the cerebellar cortex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)859-866
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 1999
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the U.S.–Israel Binational Science Foundation, the Israel Academy of Sciences and the European Commission. D.C. was the recipient of a Clore Fellowship.


  • Cerebellum
  • Optical imaging
  • Voltage-sensitive dyes


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