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Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 1999 Jun 2;115(2):131-44.

Intrinsic electrophysiology of neurons in thalamorecipient layers of developing rat auditory cortex.

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Department of Neurobiology and Behavior and Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, University of California, Irvine, 2205 Biological Sciences II, Irvine, CA 92697-4550, USA.


During early postnatal life, several critical events contribute to the functional development of rat sensory neocortex. Thalamocortical innervation of sensory cortex is completed during the first postnatal week and extrathalamic innervation develops over the first several weeks. In auditory cortex, acoustic-evoked potentials first occur in week 2 and develop most rapidly over weeks 2-3. Thus, rapid functional maturation of cortical circuits in sensory cortex occurs during the second and third postnatal weeks. The electrophysiological properties of cortical neurons that receive afferent inputs during this time may play an important role in development and function. In this study we examined the intrinsic electrophysiology, including spiking patterns, of neurons in layers II/III and IV of auditory cortex during postnatal weeks 2 and 3. Many neurons displayed characteristics consistent with previous descriptions of response classes (regular spiking, fast spiking, intrinsic bursting). In addition, we identified two groups, Rectifying and On-spiking neurons, that were characterized by (i) brief spike trains in response to maintained intracellular depolarizations, and (ii) striking outward rectification upon depolarization. Unusually brief spike trains (1-2 spikes) and short spike latencies (<10 ms) further distinguished On-spiking from Rectifying cells. Biocytin labeling demonstrated that On-spiking and Rectifying cells could be either pyramidal or nonpyramidal neurons. The intrinsic physiology of these cell groups may play an important role in auditory cortex function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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