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J Physiol. 2004 Oct 15;560(Pt 2):377-90. Epub 2004 Aug 5.

Spontaneous, synchronous electrical activity in neonatal mouse cortical neurones.

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Department of Biology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98115, USA.


Spontaneous [Ca2+]i transients were measured in the mouse neocortex from embryonic day 16 (E16) to postnatal day 6 (P6). On the day of birth (P0), cortical neurones generated widespread, highly synchronous [Ca2+]i transients over large areas. On average, 52% of neurones participated in these transients, and in 20% of slices, an average of 80% participated. These transients were blocked by TTX and nifedipine, indicating that they resulted from Ca2+ influx during electrical activity, and occurred at a mean frequency of 0.91 min(-1). The occurrence of this activity was highly centred at P0: at E16 and P2 an average of only 15% and 24% of neurones, respectively, participated in synchronous transients, and they occurred at much lower frequencies at both E16 and P2 than at P0. The overall frequency of [Ca2+]i transients in individual cells did not change between E16 and P2, just the degree of their synchronicity. The onset of this spontaneous, synchronous activity correlated with a large increase in Na+ current density that occurred just before P0, and its cessation with a large decrease in resting resistance that occurred just after P2. This widespread, synchronous activity may serve a variety of functions in the neonatal nervous system.

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