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Activity of cortical and thalamic neurons during the slow (<1 Hz) rhythm in the mouse in vivo

Crunelli, Vincenzo ORCID:, Lőrincz, Magor L., Errington, Adam Clarke ORCID: and Hughes, Stuart W. 2012. Activity of cortical and thalamic neurons during the slow (<1 Hz) rhythm in the mouse in vivo. Pflügers Archiv European Journal of Physiology 463 (1) , pp. 73-88. 10.1007/s00424-011-1011-9

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During NREM sleep and under certain types of anaesthesia, the mammalian brain exhibits a distinctive slow (<1 Hz) rhythm. At the cellular level, this rhythm correlates with so-called UP and DOWN membrane potential states. In the neocortex, these UP and DOWN states correspond to periods of intense network activity and widespread neuronal silence, respectively, whereas in thalamocortical (TC) neurons, UP/DOWN states take on a more stereotypical oscillatory form, with UP states commencing with a low-threshold Ca2+ potential (LTCP). Whilst these properties are now well recognised for neurons in cats and rats, whether or not they are also shared by neurons in the mouse is not fully known. To address this issue, we obtained intracellular recordings from neocortical and TC neurons during the slow (<1 Hz) rhythm in anaesthetised mice. We show that UP/DOWN states in this species are broadly similar to those observed in cats and rats, with UP states in neocortical neurons being characterised by a combination of action potential output and intense synaptic activity, whereas UP states in TC neurons always commence with an LTCP. In some neocortical and TC neurons, we observed ‘spikelets’ during UP states, supporting the possible presence of electrical coupling. Lastly, we show that, upon tonic depolarisation, UP/DOWN states in TC neurons are replaced by rhythmic high-threshold bursting at ~5 Hz, as predicted by in vitro studies. Thus, UP/DOWN state generation appears to be an elemental and conserved process in mammals that underlies the slow (<1 Hz) rhythm in several species, including humans.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Q Science > QP Physiology
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: EEG; Oscillations; Sleep; Neocortex; Thalamocortical; Electroencephalogram; T-type calcium channel; Thalamus; Neocortical neurons
Additional Information: This article is published as part of the Special Issue on Sleep. An erratum to this article can be found at
Publisher: Springer Berlin / Heidelberg
ISSN: 0031-6768
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2022 08:40

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