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J Neurosci. 2006 Feb 15;26(7):2088-100.

State-dependent dendritic computation in hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons.

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  • 1Neuroscience Center, Louisiana State University Health Science Center, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112, USA.


Depending on the behavioral state, hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons receive very distinct patterns of synaptic input and likewise produce very different output patterns. We have used simultaneous dendritic and somatic recordings and multisite glutamate uncaging to investigate the relationship between synaptic input pattern, the form of dendritic integration, and action potential output in CA1 neurons. We found that when synaptic input arrives asynchronously or highly distributed in space, the dendritic arbor performs a linear integration that allows the action potential rate and timing to vary as a function of the quantity of the input. In contrast, when synaptic input arrives synchronously and spatially clustered, the dendritic compartment receiving the clustered input produces a highly nonlinear integration that leads to an action potential output that is extraordinarily precise and invariant. We also present evidence that both of these forms of information processing may be independently engaged during the two distinct behavioral states of the hippocampus such that individual CA1 pyramidal neurons could perform two different state-dependent computations: input strength encoding during theta states and feature detection during sharp waves.

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