Basket cell

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Basket Cells (Basket neurons) are neurons found in the cerebellum whose terminal axons form a basket-like nest in which Purkinje cells rest.

Basic Information

FIGURE1-3A and B Basket neurons. Basket neurons are named for their widely ramified dendritic trees, which resemble baskets (depicted somewhat realistically in A and iconically in B). Theyarecortical interneuronswith axons that spread horizontally to make many inhibitory contacts with the soma of other neurons, from Stahl's Essential Psychopharmacology 3rd Edition.

Basket Cells are neurons located in the cerebellum of vertebrates. Cerebellar basket cells make inhibitory synaptic contacts with neighboring cell (Purkinje cells) and control the overall potentials on target cells. Basket cells have distint axonal aborization morphology that enable them to effectively control the gain of synaptic potentials and action potential discharge of target cells.

Neuronal Type: local interneuron


"Basket cells are multipolar, stellate, and contain free branching dendrites whose diameters vary from 12 to 30mm and whose bodies are located in molecular layers. The dendrites are smooth, but some have spines. These cerebellar basket cells are different from other interneurons by their axons. Their axons pass in the vertical and horizontal directions forming tree-like structure, and axon terminals have beads and basket-like network."

Molecular profile

  • Neurotransmitter: GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric acid), the inhibitory neurotransmitter in the vertebrate nervous system. Also, presynaptic terminals of cerebellar basket cells are known to contain ryanodine-sensitive calcium stores (RyCSs). Calcium released from presynaptic RyCSs enhances the amplitude of evoked GABAergic synaptic currents.


Synaptic Inputs

Axon collaterals of basket cells make contact with Purkinje cells (the sole efferent output of the cerebellar cortex). Being an inhibitory neuron, basket cells fire inhibitory neurotransmitters, such as GABA into their synaptic terminal and inhibit Purkinje cells. Basket cell terminals are also rich in voltage-gated potassium channels. These voltage-gated potassium channels associate with calcium present in the intracellular space of synaptic terminals thereby increasing the action potential rate at which the neurons are transmitting.

Synaptic Outputs

Purkinje cell bodies that make synaptic connections with basket cells receive inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA, and Potassium from basket cells. Received inhibitory projections are sent to the deep cerebellar nuclei, and constitute the output of motor coordination in the cerebellar cortex.


1) B, Robertson,A. Southan (1999) K+ channel blockers and Ca2+ signals in basket cell terminals, Journal, vol 520: pages 1. The physiological Society.

2) Christophe Pouzat, Alain Marty (1999) Somatic Recording of GABAergic Autoreceptor Current in Cerebellar Stellate and Basket Cells, Journal, vol 5, The Journal of Neuroscience.

3) Micaela Galante, Alain Marky (2003) Presynaptic Ryanodine-Sensitive Calcium Stores Contribute to Evoked Neurotransmitter Release at the Basket Cell Purkinje Cell synapse, Journal, vol 35, The Journal of Neuroscience.

4) V. E. Okhotin, S. G. Kalinichenko (2004) The Histophysiology of Neocortical Basket Cells, Journal, vol 32, pages 5. Springer New York.

5) Yexica Aponte, Josef Bischofberger, Peter Jonas (2008) Efficient Ca2+ buffering in fast-spiking basket cells of rat hippocampus, Journal, vol 586: pages 2061-2075 . The Journal of Physiology.

Additional information

1.The Histophysiology of Neocortical Basket Cells

2.Neurolex Basket Cells

3.Patch-Clamp Recordings from Cerebellar Basket Cell Bodies and Their Presynaptic Terminals Reveal an Asymmetric Distribution of Voltage-Gated Potassium Channels

4.Presynaptic Ryanodine-Sensitive Calcium Stores Contribute to Evoked Neurotransmitter Release at the Basket Cell-Purkinje Cell Synapse

5.Anatomical, Physiological, Molecular and Circuit Properties of Nest Basket Cells in the Developing Somatosensory Cortex