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J Neurophysiol. 1992 Sep;68(3):973-7.

Bursting and tonic discharges in two classes of reticular thalamic neurons.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Neurophysiologie, Faculté de Médecine, Université Laval, Quebec, Canada.


1. Two types of cat reticular (RE) thalamic cells were disclosed by means of intracellular recordings under urethan anesthesia. The RE neurons were identified by their typical depolarizing spindle oscillations in response to synchronous stimulation of the internal capsule. 2. In type I neurons (n = 41), depolarizing current pulses induced tonic firing at the resting or slightly depolarized membrane potential (Vm) and triggered high-frequency spike bursts at a Vm more negative than -75 mV. As well, these cells discharged rebound bursts at the break of a hyperpolarizing current pulse. Internal capsule stimulation elicited spindle sequences made off by depolarizing waves giving rise to spike bursts. 3. Type II cells (n = 9) did not discharge spike bursts to large depolarizing current pulses even when the Vm reached -100 mV, nor did they fire rebound bursts after long-lasting hyperpolarizing current pulses or spike bursts riding on the rhythmic depolarizing components of spindle sequences. 4. Compared with type I cells, type II cells showed less frequency accommodation during tonic firing. The latter neuronal class discharged at high frequencies (40 Hz) with slight DC depolarization, approximately 8-10 Hz at the resting Vm, and no underlying synaptic or subthreshold oscillatory events could be detected when the firing was blocked by DC hyperpolarization. 5. The presence of two cell classes in the RE nucleus challenges the common view that this nucleus consists of a single neuronal class. We suggest that a different set of conductances is present in type II RE neurons, thus preventing the low-threshold Ca2+ current from dominating the behavior of these cells.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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