Purkinje Cell

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Purkinje cell

[pər′kin·jē ‚sel]
Any of the cells of the cerebral cortex with large, flask-shaped bodies forming a single cell layer between the molecular and granular layers.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Purkinje Cell


any one of numerous large neurons of the cerebellar cortex whose axons extend beyond the cortex; first described in 1837 by J. E. Purkinje.

Purkinje cells transmit the commands of the cerebellar cortex to its subordinate motor centers, the cerebellar and vestibular nuclei. In mammals and birds, the bodies of Purkinje cells are arranged in the cerebellar cortex in a single layer, called the gangliar, or Purkinje, layer. The Purkinje layer is located between the molecular layer, into which each Purkinje cell extends a dendrite, and the granular layer, through which the axon of a Purkinje cell passes into the white matter of the cerebellum. The flattened dendrite of a Purkinje cell has smooth branches of the first, second, and third orders and short branches (not more than 20 μ long) that are covered with spines. These branches come in contact with the axon endings of the granular cells of the cerebellar cortex; in a cat, for example, there are about 0.2 million synapses per dendrite. The smooth branches of a dendrite and the body of the Purkinje cell come in contact with a convoluted liana-like fiber (one per Purkinje cell) that enters the cerebellum from the inferior olivas and some other nuclei of the medulla oblongata. Both types of synapses are excitatory.

The inhibitory endings of Purkinje cells are formed by intercellular cortical neurons (basket, stellate, and Golgi cells); gamma-aminobutyric acid seems to be the mediator. The same mediator is probably secreted by the axon endings of Purkinje cells onto the neurons of the cerebellar and vestibular nuclei.

The dendrites of Purkinje cells have become progressively more complex and flattened in the course of vertebrate evolution; the total number of Purkinje cells has also increased, totaling 15–20 million in man.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Functional roles of an ERG current isolated in cerebellar Purkinje neurons.
To further address the question regarding a decrease in the Purkinje cell number, as seen in the diabetes, and whether it was attributable to diminished synapse density, we performed ultrastructural studies of the synapses, using transmission electron microscopy to provide the information regarding the presynaptic area that contained the neurotransmitter vesicles, synaptic cleft, and postsynaptic area, as shown in the Figure 3A.
Prolonged hyperglycemia is suspected to have caused selective Purkinje cell degeneration and necrosis by glial activation, mitochondrial dysfunction, and glutamate toxicosis, which resulted in the clinically observed motor deficits, similar to central neuropathy and cerebellar lesions observed in diabetic mammals.
In the new paper, the researchers took their observations to humans, studying Purkinje cells derived from three patients with TSC (two also had ASD symptoms, and all three also had epilepsy).
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The Purkinje networks induced the electrical activation sequences of sinus rhythm (normal), LBBB, and RBBB (Figure 2(c)).
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To our knowledge, the present study is the first to use in situ zymography of the cores of Purkinje cells as a marker of hypoxic damage.
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Immunohistochemistry of brain sections revealed that DSCAM is highly expressed in the cerebral cortex, granule layer of the dentate gyrus, pyramidal cell layer of Ammon's horn of the hippocampus (stratum pyramidale), thalamus, and cerebellar Purkinje cells of both WT (Figure 2A,C,E) and APP transgenic mice (Figure 2B,D,F).