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J Neurophysiol. 2005 Nov;94(5):3221-7. Epub 2005 Jul 13.

Properties of mouse spinal lamina I GABAergic interneurons.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, Whitehead Biomedical Research Bldg., Rm. 644, Emory University School of Medicine, 615 Michael St., Atlanta GA 30322, USA.


Lamina I is a sensory relay region containing projection cells and local interneurons involved in thermal and nociceptive signaling. These neurons differ in morphology, sensory response modality, and firing characteristics. We examined intrinsic properties of mouse lamina I GABAergic neurons expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP). GABAergic neuron identity was confirmed by a high correspondence between GABA immunolabeling and EGFP fluorescence. Morphologies of these EGFP+/GABA+ cells were multipolar (65%), fusiform (31%), and pyramidal (4%). In whole cell recordings, cells fired a single spike (44%), tonically (35%), or an initial burst (21%) in response to current steps, representing a subset of reported lamina I firing properties. Membrane properties of tonic and initial burst cells were indistinguishable and these neurons may represent one functional population because, in individual neurons, their firing patterns could interconvert. Single spike cells were less excitable with lower membrane resistivity and higher rheobase. Most fusiform cells (64%) fired tonically while most multipolar cells (56%) fired single spikes. In summary, lamina I inhibitory interneurons are functionally divisible into at least two major groups both of which presumably function to limit excitatory transmission.

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