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Properties and origin of spikelets in thalamocortical neurones in vitro

Hughes, Stuart Wynn, Blethyn, K. L., Cope, David William and Crunelli, Vincenzo 2002. Properties and origin of spikelets in thalamocortical neurones in vitro. Neuroscience 110 (3) , pp. 395-401. 10.1016/S0306-4522(01)00577-2

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Spikelets, or fast prepotentials as they are frequently referred to, are a common feature of the electrophysiology of central neurones and are invariably correlated with the presence of electrotonic coupling via gap junctions (Dudek et al., 1998 and Perez Velazquez and Carlen, 2000). Here we report that in the presence of the metabotropic glutamate receptor agonists, trans-ACPD or DHPG, thalamocortical neurones of the cat dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus maintained in vitro exhibit stereotypical spikelets that possess similar properties to those described in other brain areas. These spikelets were routinely observed in the presence of antagonists of fast chemical synaptic transmission, were resistant to the application of a variety of voltage-dependent Ca2+ channel blockers but were abolished by tetrodotoxin. In addition, spikelets were reversibly blocked by the putative gap junction blocker carbenoxolone and were nearly always accompanied by dye-coupling. These results indicate that thalamocortical neurones may be electrotonically coupled via gap junctions with spikelets representing attenuated action potentials from adjoining cells. We suggest that the presence of electrotonic communication between thalamocortical neurones would have major implications for the understanding of both physiological ( Steriade et al., 1993, Sillito et al., 1994, Alonso et al., 1996, Neuenschwander and Singer, 1996 and Weliky and Katz, 1999) and pathological ( Steriade and Contreras, 1995 and Pinault et al., 1998) synchronised electrical activity in the thalamus.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Fast prepotentials; electrotonic coupling; thalamus; gap junctions.
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0306-4522
Last Modified: 08 May 2019 02:46

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