, Volume 341, Issue 3, pp 341-347
Date: 23 Jul 2010

Aging of cerebellar Purkinje cells

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Abstract

Cerebellar Purkinje cells (PCs), the sole output neurons in the cerebellar cortex, play an important role in the cerebellar circuit. PCs appear to be rather sensitive to aging, exhibiting significant changes in both morphology and function during senescence. This article reviews such changes during the normal aging process, including a decrease in the quantity of cells, atrophy in the soma, retraction in the dendritic arborizations, degeneration in the subcellular organelles, a decline in synapse density, disorder in the neurotransmitter system, and alterations in electrophysiological properties. Although these deteriorative changes occur during aging, compensatory mechanisms exist to counteract the impairments in the aging PCs. The possible neural mechanisms underlying these changes and potential preventive treatments are discussed.