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J Neurophysiol. 2000 Jan;83(1):483-500.

Summation of effective synaptic currents and firing rate modulation in cat spinal motoneurons.

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1
Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.

Abstract

The aim of this study was to examine how cat spinal motoneurons integrate the synaptic currents generated by the concurrent activation of large groups of presynaptic neurons. We obtained intracellular recordings from cat triceps surae motoneurons and measured the effects of repetitive activity in different sets of presynaptic neurons produced by electrical stimulation of descending fibers or peripheral nerves and by longitudinal vibration of the triceps surae muscles (to activate primary muscle spindle Ia afferent fibers). We combined synaptic activation with subthreshold injected currents to obtain estimates of effective synaptic currents at the resting potential (I(Nrest)) and at the threshold for repetitive discharge (I(Nthresh)). We then superimposed synaptic activation on suprathreshold injected current steps to measure the synaptically evoked change in firing rate. We studied eight different pairs of synaptic inputs. When any two synaptic inputs were activated concurrently, both the effective synaptic currents (I(Nrest)) and the synaptically evoked changes in firing rate generally were equal to or slightly less than the linear sum of the effects produced by activating each input alone. However, there were several instances in which the summation was substantially less than linear. In some motoneurons, we induced a partial blockade of potassium channels by adding tetraethylammonium (TEA) or cesium to the electrolyte solution in the intracellular pipette. In these cells, persistent inward currents were evoked by depolarization that led to instances of substantially greater-than linear summation of injected and synaptic currents. Overall our results indicate that the spatial distribution of synaptic boutons on motoneurons acts to minimize electrical interactions between synaptic sites permitting near linear summation of synaptic currents. However, modulation of voltage-gated conductances on the soma and dendrites of the motoneuron can lead to marked nonlinearities in synaptic integration.

PMID:
10634890
DOI:
10.1152/jn.2000.83.1.483
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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