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J Neurophysiol. 2010 Aug;104(2):940-8. doi: 10.1152/jn.00264.2010. Epub 2010 Jun 10.

In vivo dynamic clamp study of I(h) in the mouse inferior colliculus.

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  • 1Department of Neuroscience, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Approximately half of the cells in the mouse inferior colliculus have the hyperpolarization-activated mixed cation current I(h), yet little is known about its functional relevance in vivo. We therefore studied its contribution to the processing of sound information in single cells by making in vivo whole cell recordings from the inferior colliculus (IC) of young-adult anesthetized C57Bl/6 mice. Following pharmacological block of the endogenous channels, a dynamic clamp approach allowed us to study the responses to current injections or auditory stimuli in the presence and absence of I(h) within the same neuron, thus avoiding network or developmental effects. The presence of I(h) changed basic cellular properties, including depolarizing the resting membrane potential and decreasing resting membrane resistance. Sound-evoked excitatory postsynaptic potentials were smaller but at the same time reached a more positive membrane potential when I(h) was present. With I(h), a subset of cells showed rebound spiking following hyperpolarizing current injection. Its presence also changed more complex cellular properties. It decreased temporal summation in response to both hyperpolarizing and depolarizing repetitive current stimuli, and resulted in small changes in the cycle-averaged membrane potential during sinusoidal amplitude modulated (SAM) tones. Furthermore, I(h) minimally decreased the response to a tone following a depolarization, an effect that may make a small contribution to forward masking. Our results thus suggest that previously observed differences in IC cells are a mixture of direct effects of I(h) and indirect effects due to the change in membrane potential or effects due to the co-expression with other channels.

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