Cellule de Purkinje de rat adulte vue au microscope confocal
View under confocal microscope of an adult rat Purkinje cell marked selectively by means of a fluorescent molecule, after patch-clamp recording (technique consisting of recording the electrical activity of a microscopic fragment of cell membrane. The cell body (round shape at the bottom of the image) measures approximately 25 microns in diameter and the dendritic tree spans approximately 200 x 200 microns, but it is almost flat. Terminal dendrites, known as thorny twigs, bear numerous dendritic spines, sorts of small mushrooms of approximately 1 micron where synaptic contacts are established. Purkinje cells receive approximately 200,000 synapses, whose modification by synaptic plasticity enables storage of the information acquired during motor learning. These are the main cells of the cerebellar cortex. The cerebellum plays a key role in learning, refinement and automation of coordinated movements.