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Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 1996 Feb 26;91(2):164-70.

Development of firing patterns and electrical properties in neurons of the rat ventrobasal thalamus.

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  • 1Playfair Neuroscience Unit, University of Toronto, Canada.


The electrophysiological properties of thalamic neurons of the rat ventrobasal complex (VB) in vitro were studied during early postnatal development. Current clamp recordings using the whole cell patch clamp method revealed that immature thalamic neurons had less negative membrane potential and higher input resistance than mature neurons. One of the most remarkable differences was the absence of spike bursts riding on the low threshold calcium spike (LTS) in VB neurons before postnatal day 12 (P12). Action potentials recorded from immature neurons had longer duration than those of mature cells and were followed by a longer afterhyperpolarization (spike-ahp). The spike-ahp became shorter as maturation progressed, reaching mature characteristics around P12, coinciding with the appearance of spike bursting on the LTS. The calcium activated potassium conductance, IC, played a prominent role in the spike-ahp in immature neurons. In conclusion, the major differences in intrinsic membrane properties of VB neurons occur during the first 12 postnatal days. The appearance of spike bursting riding on the LTS at P12 is consistent with the emergence of synchronized thalamocortical oscillations in rats around that age.

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