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J Physiol. 1995 Mar 1;483 ( Pt 2):421-41.

Regenerative properties of pyramidal cell dendrites in area CA1 of the rat hippocampus.

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Institute of Physiology, University of Aarhus, Denmark.


1. Intracellular recordings were obtained from 184 distal apical dendrites and twenty-six somata of CA1 pyramidal neurones in the rat hippocampal slice preparation. In the presence of 3.25 mM K+ 200 ms suprathreshold current pulses evoked three different types of firing patterns in the apical dendrites, all of which were distinct from regular somatic firing. Fast tetrodotoxin (TTX)-sensitive spiking was evoked in 38.8% of the dendrites. Compound spiking, consisting of an initial fast spike followed by one or more secondary slow spikes of variable amplitude and duration, was seen in 44.1% of dendrites. 'Classical' burst firing, resembling intrinsic somatic bursts, was evoked in 17.1% of the dendrites. 2. In fast spiking dendrites, the spikes evoked by long depolarizing pulses were rarely overshooting, showed prominent accommodation and declined progressively to about one-third of the initial amplitude. The amplitude of single dendritic fast spikes (50.6 +/- 1.5 mV; mean +/- S.E.M.) was smaller than that of somatic spikes (82.2 +/- 1.9 mV) and their rate of rise (81.3 +/- 4.3 V s-1) was markedly slower than that of somatic spikes (291.5 +/- 17.8 V s-1). However, the thresholds were not significantly different (dendrites, -49.8 +/- 0.8 mV; somata, -50.8 +/- 1.3 mV). These results indicate that fast spikes in the distal parts of apical dendrites are generated by a local regenerative Na+ current. 3. 4-Aminopyridine (4-AP, 0.1-0.5 mM) caused a dose-dependent slowing of the repolarization of the fast spikes, while tetraethylammonium (TEA, 2 mM) and Co2+ (2 mM) induced a slowing of the late phase of the repolarization. These results indicate that the transient outward K+ current, IA, and the Ca(2+)-activated K+ current, IC, are involved in the repolarization of dendritic Na(+)-dependent spikes. 4. Compound spiking was completely blocked by TTX (0.5-1 microM). The secondary slow spikes within the complex were blocked by Co2+ (2 mM), nifedipine (10 microM) and high concentrations (> 50 microM) of verapamil, while Ni2+ (100-300 microM) had no effect. Thus, compound spiking consists of an initial Na(+)-dependent spike followed by one or more slow Ca(2+)-dependent spikes mediated by L-type Ca2+ channels located in the apical dendrites. 5. In fast spiking dendrites, 4-AP (0.5-2.5 mM) changed the firing pattern from regular fast spiking to compound spiking. In the presence of 4-AP (0.1-0.5 mM), the single fast spike evoked by a short (20 ms), threshold current pulse, was followed by secondary slow spikes of variable amplitude and duration.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

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