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Exp Neurol. 1984 Aug;85(2):413-25.

Transition from spindles to generalized spike and wave discharges in the cat: simultaneous single-cell recordings in cortex and thalamus.


The relationships between the activity of the cortex and that of a "specific" (n. lateralis posterior, LP) and an intralaminar thalamic nucleus (n. centralis medialis, NCM) were studied in the cat during the transition from spontaneous spindles to generalized spike and wave (SW) discharge following i.m. penicillin injection. The EEG and extracellular single-unit activity were recorded in cortex and thalamus during the spindle stage and at different intervals after penicillin until well developed SW discharges were present. Computer-generated EEG averages and histograms of single-unit activity were triggered by either peaks of cortical or thalamic EEG transients or by cortical or thalamic action potentials. In agreement with previous observations, cortical neurons increasingly fired during the spindle wave as it was transformed into the "spike" of the SW complex, while a period of neuronal silence gradually developed as the "wave" of the SW complex emerged. Similar changes developed in the thalamus, particularly in LP, either concurrently with or more often after the onset of the changes in the cortex. Most neurons in NCM, continued to fire randomly even after well developed SWs and rhythmic neuronal discharges had developed in cortex and LP. Only 4/11 NCM neurons did ultimately exhibit a rhythmic firing pattern similar to that seen in the cortex and LP. The correlation between cortical and thalamic unit activity was low during spindles, but gradually increased during the development of SW discharges. These data confirm that the cortex is the leading element in the transition from spindles to SWs. Increasingly, in the course of this transition, cortical and thalamic neuronal firing becomes more intimately phase-locked. This mutual interrelationship appears to be more pronounced between cortex and "specific" than intralaminar thalamic nuclei.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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