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Nature. 1988 Nov 24;336(6197):379-81.

Temporal integration by a slowly inactivating K+ current in hippocampal neurons.

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Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, State University of New York, Stony Brook 11794.


A central aspect of neuronal function is how each nerve cell translated synaptic input into a sequence of action potentials that carry information along the axon, coded as spike frequency. When transduction from a graded depolarizing input to spikes is studied by injecting a depolarizing current, there is often a remarkably long delay to the first action potential, both in mammalian and molluscan neurons. Here, I report that the delayed excitation in rat hippocampal neurons is due to a slowly inactivating potassium current, ID. ID co-exists with other voltage-gated K+ currents, including a fast A current and a slow delayed rectifier current. As ID activates in the subthreshold range, and takes tens of seconds to recover from inactivation, it enables the cell to integrate separate depolarizing inputs over long times. ID also makes the encoding properties of the cell exceedingly sensitive to the prevailing membrane potential.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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