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Neuron. 2001 Jul 19;31(1):35-45.

Lack of the burst firing of thalamocortical relay neurons and resistance to absence seizures in mice lacking alpha(1G) T-type Ca(2+) channels.

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National Creative Research Initiative Center, for Calcium and Learning, Department of Life Science, Pohang University of Science and Technology, 790-784, Pohang, South Korea.


T-type Ca(2+) currents have been proposed to be involved in the genesis of spike-and-wave discharges, a sign of absence seizures, but direct evidence in vivo to support this hypothesis has been lacking. To address this question, we generated a null mutation of the alpha(1G) subunit of T-type Ca(2+) channels. The thalamocortical relay neurons of the alpha(1G)-deficient mice lacked the burst mode firing of action potentials, whereas they showed the normal pattern of tonic mode firing. The alpha(1G)-deficient thalamus was specifically resistant to the generation of spike-and-wave discharges in response to GABA(B) receptor activation. Thus, the modulation of the intrinsic firing pattern mediated by alpha(1G) T-type Ca(2+) channels plays a critical role in the genesis of absence seizures in the thalamocortical pathway.

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