Unipolar Brush Cells

Marco Martina*, Gabriella Sekerková

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The unipolar brush cells (UBCs) are excitatory interneurons in the granule cell layer of the cerebellar cortex. They represent a relay station that amplifies extra-cerebellar inputs from vestibular origin as well as other inputs whose origin remains the focus of ongoing research. In adult animals, the UBCs are broadly classified into two functionally and chemically distinct subclasses. Type I UBCs, characterized by calretinin expression, are regularly firing, express type 2 metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluR), and are located in lobules IX and X. Type II UBCs are characterized by the expression of mGluR1α, which mediates a long-lasting excitatory response to mossy fiber inputs. Type II UBCs are burst firing and are present throughout the cerebellar cortex, although their expression is greatly enriched in the vestibulocerebellum. Both UBC types show peculiarly slow glutamatergic currents in response to synaptic activation. This electrophysiological property suggests a critical role for these cells in determining the timing of the response of the cerebellar cortex to peripheral inputs. Recent data also suggest that dysfunction of cerebellar UBCs has a pathogenic role in a subset of cerebellar ataxias and represents a potential cellular substrate for the generation of tinnitus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEssentials of Cerebellum and Cerebellar Disorders
Subtitle of host publicationA Primer For Graduate Students, Second Edition
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9783031150708
ISBN (Print)9783031150692
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023


  • Ataxia
  • Microcircuitry
  • Mossy fibers
  • Tinnitus
  • Vestibulocerebellum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine
  • General Neuroscience


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