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J Neurophysiol. 1990 Apr;63(4):663-75.

Synaptic and intrinsic control of membrane excitability of neostriatal neurons. II. An in vitro analysis.

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Clinica Neurologica Dipartimento Sanità Pubblica, Università di Roma, Italy.


1. The effects of intrinsic membrane properties on the spontaneous and synaptically evoked activity of neostriatal neurons were studied in an in vitro slice preparation with the use of intracellular recordings. The recorded neurons did not show spontaneous action potentials at rest; depolarizing current pulses triggered a tonic firing pattern. 2. Subthreshold spontaneous depolarizing potentials (SDPs) were observed in 52% of the recorded neurons. The amplitude of these potentials at rest ranged between 2 and 15 mV, and their duration between 4 and 100 ms. The frequency and the amplitude of the SDPs were functions of the membrane potential: membrane depolarization by constant positive current increased the frequency of the SDPs and reduced their amplitude; hyperpolarization of the membrane decreased their frequency and increased their amplitude. Often, at membrane potentials more negative than -90 mV, SDPs were completely suppressed. 3. SDPs were blocked by low calcium-cobalt containing solutions. In the presence of tetrodotoxin (TTX, 1-3 microM), SDPs were completely abolished in 50% of the tested neurons; in the remaining neurons, small (1-4 mV) TTX-resistant SDPs were observed. In most of the neurons, bicuculline (BIC, 10-100 microM) and low concentrations of tetanus toxin (5-10 micrograms/ml) did not clearly affect the SDPs. Higher concentrations of tetanus toxin (100 micrograms/ml) blocked the SDPs as well as the synaptic potentials evoked by intrastriatal stimulation. 4. At resting membrane potential, intrastriatal stimulation produced a fast depolarizing postsynaptic potential (EPSP) that was reduced by BIC (10-100 microM). The relationship between EPSP amplitude and membrane potential was studied either by utilizing K(+)-chloride electrodes or by the use of cesium-chloride electrodes. In both these cases, the reversal potential for the EPSPs was between 0 and -14 mV. In cesium-loaded neurons, the decrease of the EPSP, usually observed at negative membrane potentials (below -85 mV), was clearly reduced. Internal cesium prolonged the duration of the SDPs and the EPSPs evoked by intrastriatal stimulation. 5. The relationship between spontaneous and evoked synaptic activity and membrane potential was studied in the presence of different external potassium blockers. 4-Aminopyridine (4AP, 0.1-1 mM) increased the EPSP amplitude and the frequency of the SDPs, but did not decrease membrane rectification and the shunt of the EPSPs present at negative membrane potentials. On the contrary, rectification of the membrane and the shunt of the EPSPs below -85 mV were clearly reduced by tetraethylammonium (TEA, 10-20 mM).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

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