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PLoS Biol. 2008 Sep 2;6(9):e222. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0060222.

Complex events initiated by individual spikes in the human cerebral cortex.

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  • 1Research Group for Cortical Microcircuits of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Neuroscience, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary.

Abstract

Synaptic interactions between neurons of the human cerebral cortex were not directly studied to date. We recorded the first dataset, to our knowledge, on the synaptic effect of identified human pyramidal cells on various types of postsynaptic neurons and reveal complex events triggered by individual action potentials in the human neocortical network. Brain slices were prepared from nonpathological samples of cortex that had to be removed for the surgical treatment of brain areas beneath association cortices of 58 patients aged 18 to 73 y. Simultaneous triple and quadruple whole-cell patch clamp recordings were performed testing mono- and polysynaptic potentials in target neurons following a single action potential fired by layer 2/3 pyramidal cells, and the temporal structure of events and underlying mechanisms were analyzed. In addition to monosynaptic postsynaptic potentials, individual action potentials in presynaptic pyramidal cells initiated long-lasting (37 +/- 17 ms) sequences of events in the network lasting an order of magnitude longer than detected previously in other species. These event series were composed of specifically alternating glutamatergic and GABAergic postsynaptic potentials and required selective spike-to-spike coupling from pyramidal cells to GABAergic interneurons producing concomitant inhibitory as well as excitatory feed-forward action of GABA. Single action potentials of human neurons are sufficient to recruit Hebbian-like neuronal assemblies that are proposed to participate in cognitive processes.

PMID:
18767905
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2528052
Free PMC Article
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