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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2006 Feb 3;340(1):151-7. Epub 2005 Dec 9.

The refractory periods and threshold potentials of sequential spikes measured by whole-cell recording.

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State Key Laboratory for Brain and Cognitive Sciences, National Laboratory for Protein Sciences, Institute of Biophysics Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China.


Neurons in the central nervous system are thought to program neural language via firing sequential spikes for guiding animal behaviors. The quantitative profiles of spike intrinsic properties are critically important to understand spike programming. We developed approaches with whole-cell recordings to measure the threshold potentials and refractory periods (RPs) of sequential spikes, and to analyze the relationships of these factors with spike timing precision and capacity at the regular-spiking and fast-spiking neurons in cortical slice. The RPs and threshold potentials of sequential spikes at these two groups of neurons are different and are linearly correlated with spike timing precision and capacity. These data suggest that RPs and threshold potentials essentially navigate the spike programming for the precise and loyal encoding of meaningful neural signals. Our study provides the avenues for decoding the spectrum of the neural signals quantitatively.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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