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Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 1983 Jan 22;217(1207):141-61.

Electrical properties of neurons recorded from the rat supraoptic nucleus in vitro.


The electrical properties of neurons in the supraoptic nucleus (so.n.) have been studied in the hypothalamic slice preparation by intracellular and extracellular recording techniques, with Lucifer Yellow CH dye injection to mark the recording site as being the so.n. Intracellular recordings from so.n. neurons revealed them to have an average membrane potential of -67 +/- 0.8 mV (mean +/- s.e.m.), membrane resistance of 145 +/- 9 M omega with linear current-voltage relations from 40 mV in the hyperpolarizing direction to the level of spike threshold in the depolarizing direction. Average cell time constant was 14 +/- 2.2 ms. So.n. action potentials ranged in amplitude from 55 to 95 mV, with a mean of 76 +/- 2 mV, and a spike width of 2.6 +/- 0.5 ms at 30% of maximal spike height. Both single spikes and trains of spikes were followed by a strong, long-lasting hyperpolarization with a decay fitted by a single exponential having a time constant of 8.6 +/- 1.8 ms. Action potentials could be blocked by 10(-6) M tetrodotoxin. Spontaneously active so.n. neurons were characterized by synaptic input in the form of excitatory and inhibitory postsynaptic potentials, the latter being apparently blocked when 4 M KCl electrodes were used. Both forms of synaptic activity were blocked by application of divalent cations such as Mg2+, Mn2+ or Co2+. 74% of so.n. neurons fired spontaneously at rates exceeding 0.1 spikes per second, with a mean for all cells of 2.9 +/- 0.2 s-1. Of these cells, 21% fired slowly and continuously at 0.1 - 1.0 s-1, 45% fired continuously at greater than 1 Hz, and the remaining 34% fired phasically in bursts of activity followed by silence or low frequency firing. Spontaneously firing phasic cells showed a mean burst length of 16.7 +/- 4.5 s and a silent period of 28.2 +/- 4.2 s. Intracellular recordings revealed the presence of slow variations in membrane potential which modified the neuron's proximity to spike threshold, and controlled phasic firing. Variations in synaptic input were not observed to influence firing in phasic cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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