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Neuroscience. 2012 Dec 13;226:208-26. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2012.09.016. Epub 2012 Sep 16.

Distinctions in burst spiking between thalamic reticular nucleus cells projecting to the dorsal lateral geniculate and lateral posterior nuclei in the anesthetized rat.

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Department of Physiology, Wakayama Medical University, Wakayama Kimiidera 811-1, 641-8509 Wakayama, Japan.


Thalamic cell activity is under a significant influence of inhibition from the thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN) that is composed of domains connected with first and higher order thalamic nuclei, which are thought to subserve transmission of sensory inputs to the cortex and cortico-thalamo-cortical transmission of cortical outputs, respectively. Provided that TRN cells have distinct activities along with their projections to first and higher order thalamic nuclei, TRN cells could shape cell activities of the two thalamic nuclei in different manners for the distinct functions. In anesthetized rats, visual response and spontaneous activity were recorded from TRN cells projecting to the dorsal lateral geniculate (first order) and lateral posterior (higher order) nuclei (TRN-DLG and TRN-LP cells), using juxta-cellular recording and labeling techniques. TRN-DLG cells had a higher propensity for burst spiking and exhibited bursts of larger numbers of spikes with shorter inter-spike intervals as compared to TRN-LP cells in both visual response and spontaneous activity. Sustained effects of visual input on burst spiking were recognized in recurrent activation of TRN-DLG but not of TRN-LP cells. Further, the features of burst spiking were related with the locations of topographically connected cell bodies and terminal fields. The difference in burst spiking contrasts with the difference between thalamic cells in the DLG and LP, which show low and high levels of burst spiking, respectively. The synergy between thalamic and TRN cell activities with their contrasting features of burst spiking may compose distinctive sensory processing and attentional gating functions of geniculate and extra-geniculate systems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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