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J Neurophysiol. 2002 May;87(5):2398-407.

Postnatal changes in membrane properties of mice trigeminal ganglion neurons.

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Instituto de Neurociencias-Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Universidad Miguel Hernández, San Juan de Alicante 03550, Spain.


Intracellular recordings from neurons in the mouse trigeminal ganglion (TG) in vitro were used to characterize changes in membrane properties that take place from early postnatal stages (P0-P7) to adulthood (>P21). All neonatal TG neurons had uniformly slow conduction velocities, whereas adult neurons could be separated according to their conduction velocity into Adelta and C neurons. Based on the presence or absence of a marked inflection or hump in the repolarization phase of the action potential (AP), neonatal neurons were divided into S- (slow) and F-type (fast) neurons. Their passive and subthreshold properties (resting membrane potential, input resistance, membrane capacitance, and inward rectification) were nearly identical, but they showed marked differences in AP amplitude, AP overshoot, AP duration, rate of AP depolarization, rate of AP repolarization, and afterhyperpolarization (AHP) duration. Adult TG neurons also segregated into S- and F-type groups. Differences in their mean AP amplitude, AP overshoot, AP duration, rate of AP depolarization, rate of AP repolarization, and AHP duration were also prominent. In addition, axons of 90% of F-type neurons and 60% of S-type neurons became faster conducting in their central and peripheral branch, suggestive of axonal myelination. The proportion of S- and F-type neurons did not vary during postnatal development, suggesting that these phenotypes were established early in development. Membrane properties of both types of TG neurons evolved differently during postnatal development. The nature of many of these changes was linked to the process of myelination. Thus myelination was accompanied by a decrease in AP duration, input resistance (R(in)), and increase in membrane capacitance (C). These properties remained constant in unmyelinated neurons (both F- and S-type). In adult TG, all F-type neurons with inward rectification were also fast-conducting Adelta, suggesting that those F-type neurons showing inward rectification at birth will evolve to F-type Adelta neurons with age. The percentage of F-type neurons showing inward rectification also increased with age. Both F- and S-type neurons displayed changes in the sensitivity of the AP to reductions in extracellular Ca(2+) or substitution with Co(2+) during the process of maturation.

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