Commentary: How Ethanol Short-Circuits the Cerebellum—Actions on Golgi Cells in Freely—Moving Animals


Reprint requests: Ronald K. Freund, PhD, Department of Pharmacology, University of Colorado – Denver, 12800 East 19th Ave., Mail Stop 8303, P.O. Box 6511, Aurora, CO 80045; Tel.: 303-724-3641; Fax: 303-724-3663; E-mail:


This commentary discusses the important contributions of the article published in this journal by Huang and colleagues, titled, “Acute ethanol exposure increases firing and induces oscillations in cerebellar Golgi cells of freely moving rats.” In this manuscript, Huang and colleagues present a number of interesting and important findings. While it has been shown previously that ethanol (EtOH) causes an increase in the firing of cerebellar Golgi cells in brain slice preparations and anesthetized animals, here the authors provide the first evidence that this action of EtOH occurs in vivo in freely moving, unanesthetized animals. These results also enhance our understanding of cerebellar functioning by describing the mechanism by which EtOH essentially de-afferentates (blocks specific inputs to) the cerebellum from the normal processing of sensory signals due to EtOH-induced Golgi neuron excitation, resulting in inhibition of granule cells. Furthermore, the authors characterize the novel observation of EtOH-induced neuronal oscillations, which was not previously observed in other preparations.