The receptor tyrosine kinase TrkB and its ligands, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and neurotrophin-4/5 (NT-4/5), are critically important for growth, survival and activity-dependent synaptic strengthening in the central nervous system. These TrkB-mediated actions occur in a highly cell-type specific manner. Here we report that cerebellar Purkinje cells, which are richly endowed with TrkB receptors, develop a normal morphology in trkB-deficient mice. Thus, in contrast to other types of neurons, Purkinje cells do not need TrkB for dendritic growth and spine formation. Instead, we find a moderate delay in the maturation of GABAergic synapses and, more importantly, an abnormal multiple climbing fiber innervation in Purkinje cells in trkB-deficient mice. Thus, our results demonstrate an involvement of TrkB receptors in synapse elimination and reveal a new role for receptor tyrosine kinases in the brain.