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Neuroscience. 1996 Jul;73(1):39-55.

Electrophysiological and morphological properties of pyramidal and nonpyramidal neurons in the cat motor cortex in vitro.

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1
Shanghai Brain Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, P.R. China.

Abstract

Electrophysiological and morphological properties of the neurons in cat motor cortex were investigated using intracellular recording and staining techniques in a brain slice preparation. In response to intracellular injection of depolarizing current pulses, four distinct types of firing patterns were observed among cat neocortical neurons. Regular-spiking neurons were characterized by their repetitive firing from which conspicuous frequency adaptation was observed. Doublet-or-burst firing cells were marked with their tendency to fire 2-5 clustered spikes at the onset of depolarizing pulse. In doublet-or-burst firing neurons, but not in regular-spiking neurons, a low-threshold calcium current was revealed by single-electrode voltage clamp. Both regular-spiking and doublet-or-burst firing neurons had relatively wide action potentials. Fast-spiking neurons could fire extremely narrow action potentials at a very high frequency. Their frequency-to-intensity slope of steady-state firing was significantly higher than that of the other neurons. In contrast, narrow-spiking neurons had the smallest frequency-to-intensity slope for steady-state firing, although their action potentials were as narrow as those of the fast-spiking neurons. Both regular-spiking and doublet-or-burst firing neurons were identified as pyramidal neurons, and were found in all layers below layer I. Their apical dendrites were densely coated with dendritic spines. Narrow-spiking neurons were only recorded in layer V. They were large pyramidal cells with scare spines on their apical dendrites. Fast-spiking neurons were all nonpyramidal interneurons. Seven out of eight labelled fast-spiking cells had beaded dendrites without spines. Their axons had a large number of varicosities, and arborized extensively to form a dense plexus of terminals in the vicinity of their soma. The remaining neuron was found to be a spiny nonpyramidal neuron in layer V. These results demonstrate that, in addition to the three types of firing patterns previously identified in rodent neocortex, a group of neurons in the cat motor cortex express another type of firing behaviour which is characterized by extremely narrow action potential and very small frequency-to-intensity slope. Correlation with the morphological data shows that these neurons are large layer V pyramidal cells rather than nonpyramidal interneurons.

PMID:
8783228
DOI:
10.1016/0306-4522(96)00009-7
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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