Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 341, Issue 3, pp 341–347 | Cite as

Aging of cerebellar Purkinje cells

Review

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.

Keywords

Cerebellum Purkinje cells Aging Morphology Function 

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© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological Science and Technology/State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical BiotechnologySchool of Life Sciences, Nanjing UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.School of Life SciencesAnqing Teachers CollegeAnqingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.School of Life SciencesAnhui Normal UniversityWuhuPeople’s Republic of China

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