Recent work has shown that motor learning, but not mere motor activity, changes the morphology of Purkinje cells, the major projection neurons of the cerebellar cortex. In the present study we examined how motor skill learning affects the dendritic morphology of the stellate local circuit neurons. Adult female rats were either trained to complete a complex motor learning task or forced to traverse a flat, obstacle-free runway. Golgi impregnated stellate cells were then traced via camera lucida and their dendritic arborizations examined with a concentric ring analysis. Results showed the motor learning animals to have significantly greater stellate cell dendritic arborizations than the activity controls. Thus these local circuit neurons exhibit morphological plasticity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Behavioral Neuroscience