We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Purkinje Cells?

Niki Acker
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Purkinje cells are a type of neuron found in the cerebellar cortex, at the base of the brain. They are among the largest neurons, and are responsible for most of the electrochemical signaling in the cerebellum. These cells take their name from Czech anatomist Jan Evangelista Purkyně, who discovered them in 1837.

Purkinje neurons are characterized by an elaborate branching structure of dendrites, the projections that receive electrochemical impulses from other cells. They are densely stacked within the cerebellar cortex, where they are intersected by numerous parallel fibers arising from the granule cells of the cerebellar cortex. Purkinje neurons are classified as inhibitory, as they release the neurotransmitter GABA, which binds to receptors that work by inhibiting, or reducing, the firing rate of neurons. They send inhibitory projections into dense neuron clusters in the center of the cerebellum called the deep cerebellar nuclei.

The Purkinje cells and the cerebellum are essential to the body's motor function. Disorders involving the Purkinje cells usually negatively affect the patient's movement. The Purkinje cells may be affected by both genetic and acquired disorders.

Genetic disorders affecting the Purkinje cells include cerebellar hypoplasia, autism, ataxia telangiectasia, and Niemann Pick disease Type C. In cerebellar hypoplasia, the patient is born with an underdeveloped cerebellum, either because the Purkinje cells never fully developed or because they degenerated in utero. In other genetic disorders affecting the cerebellum, symptoms may not appear until a few years after birth, after which they can worsen. Niemann Pick disease Type C sometimes causes death within a few months after birth, and in other cases does not manifest until adolescence. All cerebellar disorders are characterized by reduced motor function, such as an abnormal way of walking, seizures, involuntary eye movement, or uncoordinated movement of the limbs.

The Purkinje neurons can also be damaged by disorders developed later in life, such as autoimmune disorders including acquired immuno-deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and neurodegenerative disorders that are not genetic in nature. They are also subject to damage from toxic elements in the environment. Excessive use of alcohol or lithium can cause the cerebellum to degenerate. Stroke can also damage the Purkinje neurons.

There is no cure for any disorders affecting the Purkinje neurons. Any treatment is therefore supportive and symptomatic. For children born with cerebellar disorders, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy can be helpful in improving the child's motor skills.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Niki Acker
By Niki Acker , Writer
"In addition to her role as a The Health Board editor, Niki Foster is passionate about educating herself on a wide range of interesting and unusual topics to gather ideas for her own articles. A graduate of UCLA with a double major in Linguistics and Anthropology, Niki's diverse academic background and curiosity make her well-suited to create engaging content for WiseGeekreaders. "

Discussion Comments

By anon999552 — On Jan 31, 2018

So back in 1993 I had a doctor tell me I lost 85 percent of the Purkinje cells (PKC) in my cerebellum. In common terms, if I understand this correctl,y the PKC act as the network for the motor functions. In other words, you have X number of inputs and Y number of outputs and the PKC provide the pathway of getting X to Y. so if 85 oercent of the possible pathways are gone, that explains why my body goes into overload when I try to do highly demanding tasks like trying to ride a bike. My brain is telling me to pick one thing: Pedal or balance. I cannot do both without losing control (I played football, baseball, and basketball prior this event so it was not lack of basic ability)

Am I understanding the PKC correctly? 25 years in wanting some closure.

Thank you.

By Glasis — On Feb 05, 2014
The most promising research and hope for cures for ailments in this section of the brain are based in stem cell research. With stem cell research it may someday be possible to grow new replacement cells. With this, there may someday be hope for people with these crippling diseases.
By Telsyst — On Feb 04, 2014
The better known motor skills diseases are muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis and therefore get the lions share of research and funding. Ataxia is a lesser known disease that can be just as disruptive to a person's life. Ataxia is an ailment where a person can not coordinate their movement.

It may be caused by injury, infection or inherited genetically. Genetic ataxia affects men and women equally.

There are drugs used to help treat ataxia, but they are largely unsuccessful.

Niki Acker

Niki Acker


"In addition to her role as a The Health Board editor, Niki Foster is passionate about educating herself on a wide range...
Learn more
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.