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J Neurophysiol. 2007 Jun;97(6):4162-72. Epub 2007 Apr 18.

Action potential timing precision in dorsal cochlear nucleus pyramidal cells.

Author information

1
Departments of Cell and Molecular Physiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7070, USA.

Abstract

Many studies of the dorsal cochlear nucleus (DCN) have focused on the representation of acoustic stimuli in terms of average firing rate. However, recent studies have emphasized the role of spike timing in information encoding. We sought to ascertain whether DCN pyramidal cells might employ similar strategies and to what extent intrinsic excitability regulates spike timing. Gaussian distributed low-pass noise current was injected into pyramidal cells in a brain slice preparation. The shuffled autocorrelation-based analysis was used to compute a correlation index of spike times across trials. The noise causes the cells to fire with temporal precision (SD congruent with 1-2 ms) and high reproducibility. Increasing the coefficient of variation of the noise improved the reproducibility of the spike trains, whereas increasing the firing rate of the neuron decreased the neurons' ability to respond with predictable patterns of spikes. Simulated inhibitory postsynaptic potentials superimposed on the noise stimulus enhanced spike timing for >300 ms, although the enhancement was greatest during the first 100 ms. We also found that populations of pyramidal neurons respond to the same noise stimuli with correlated spike trains, suggesting that ensembles of neurons in the DCN receiving shared input can fire with similar timing. These results support the hypothesis that spike timing can be an important aspect of information coding in the DCN.

PMID:
17442767
PMCID:
PMC2365897
DOI:
10.1152/jn.00469.2006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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