A Research Study On Purkinje Cells Essay
For an excellent review of earlier cerebellar research, see Glickenstein 2009.
Purkinje cells were discovered just a few years before Schwann proposed his Cell Doctrine. Although it is tempting to call Purkinje’s description of the cells which bear his name the first piece of evidence in support of the Neuron Doctrine, this would be stretching the truth. In reality, anatomists at the time were still debating whether neurons in the brain stood as exceptions to the Cell Doctrine. With their long, elaborate axons and dendrites, some anatomists proposed that neurons formed a continuous, interconnectedinter-connected reticulum. Other anatomists thought that the neurofibrils were not continuous with each other but merely contacted one another contiguously. Because of microscopy resolution limits at the time, the neurofibrils could not be observed at a sufficient level of detail to conclude whether the nervous system was a continuum or contiguum of neural tissue.
It wasn’t until Ramon y Cajal employed the Golgi stain to survey the brain’s cytoarchitecture that it became clear that cells—in particular, neurons—were the fundamental building block of the brain.
One of the most important contributions to cerebellar research was Sir John Eccles’ The Cerebellum as a Neuronal Machine. His book compiled three years of neurophysiological research across three different labs and gave the interested scientist a convenient resource for understanding cerebellar anatomy,…