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Brain Res. 1987 Dec 22;437(1):35-44.

Electrical membrane properties of rat subthalamic neurons in an in vitro slice preparation.

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Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Tennessee, Memphis 38163.


The electrical membrane properties of subthalamic (STH) neurons and their response characteristics to stimulation of the internal capsule (IC) were studied in an in vitro slice preparation. Most STH neurons recorded exhibited spontaneous repetitive firing. The input resistance of STH neurons was 146 +/- 48 M omega and showed both an anomalous and a delayed rectification when the membrane was hyperpolarized or depolarized by current injections. In neurons with the membrane potential less negative than 65 mV, depolarizing current pulses generated repetitive firing with the maximum frequency of up to 500 Hz. Two types of tetrodotoxin (TTX)-resistant cobalt-sensitive potentials, slow depolarizing potential and slow action potential, were observed in STH neurons. The slow depolarizing potential had a long duration (over 500 ms in some cases) and was able to trigger repetitive firing. The slow action potential had a duration of about 30 ms and triggered a burst of firing. The slow action potential was seen only when the neurons were hyperpolarized to more negative than 65 mV by a current injection. Electrical stimulation of IC evoked monosynaptic inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (IPSPs) in most of the neurons examined. The polarity of IPSPs was reversed in the depolarizing direction by intracellular injection of Cl-. Bath application of bicuculline markedly suppressed IPSPs and unmasked monosynaptic excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs). The EPSP was able to trigger a slow depolarization with repetitive firing or a slow action potential with burst of firing when the neuron was hyperpolarized by a continuous current injection. The results demonstrated that STH neurons in an in vitro preparation have spontaneous discharges, high input resistance, capability to generate high-frequency firing, and Ca potentials. The pattern of responses of STH neurons to synaptic inputs is dependent on their membrane potentials.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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