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J Physiol. 1997 Dec 15;505 ( Pt 3):727-47.

On the nature of anomalous rectification in thalamocortical neurones of the cat ventrobasal thalamus in vitro.

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Physiology Unit, School of Molecular and Medical Biosciences, University of Wales Cardiff, UK.


1. Intracellular sharp electrode current clamp and discontinuous single electrode voltage clamp recordings were made from thalamocortical neurones (n = 57) of the cat ventrobasal thalamus in order to investigate the mechanism underlying anomalous rectification. 2. Under current clamp conditions, voltage-current (V-I) relationships in a potential range of -55 to -110 mV demonstrated anomalous rectification with two components: fast rectification, which controlled the peak of negative voltage deviations, and time-dependent rectification. Time-dependent rectification was apparent as a depolarizing sag generated during the course of negative voltage deviations, was first formed at potentials in the range -60 to -70 mV, and was sensitive to 3 mM Cs+ (n = 6). Similarly, under voltage clamp conditions, instantaneous and steady-state I-V relationships demonstrated anomalous rectification. A slowly activating inward current with an activation threshold in the range of -65 to -70 mV formed time-dependent rectification. This current was sensitive to Cs+ (3 mM) (n = 3) and had properties similar to the slow inward mixed cationic current (Ih). 3. 4-(N-Ethyl-N-phenylamino)-1,2-dimethyl-6-(methylamino)-pyrimidinium++ + chloride (ZD 7288) (100-300 microM) irreversibly blocked time-dependent rectification mediated by Ih (n = 23 of 25 neurones), and led to a hyperpolarization of the resting membrane potential (6.8 +/- 0.5 mV). In the presence of ZD 7288, V-I and I-V relationships, exhibited fast anomalous rectification, first activated from potential more negative than -80 mV. 4. Ba2+ (100 microM) (n = 8), in the continuous presence of ZD 7288, reversibly linearized peak V-I and instantaneous I-V relationships over a potential range of -70 to -120 mV, and led to a membrane depolarization (13.3 +/- 4.2 mV) or tonic inward current (192 +/- 36 pA). 5. The co-application of ZD 7288 and Ba2+ revealed a depolarizing sag in negative voltage deviations under current clamp conditions, or a large inward current with kinetics two to three times slower than those of Ih under voltage clamp conditions. This novel form of time-dependent rectification was first apparent at potentials more negative than about -85 mV, was sensitive to 5 mM Cs+ (n = 4), and is termed Ih,slow. Ih,slow tail currents reversed between -65.3 and -56.6 mV (with potassium acetate electrodes, n = 3) or -57.6 and -50.3 mV (with KCl electrodes, n = 3). 6. Computer simulations confirmed that the pattern of anomalous rectification in thalamocortical neurones of the cat ventrobasal thalamus is mediated by the concerted action of Ih and a Ba(2+)-sensitive current with properties similar to an inwardly rectifying K+ current (IKIR).

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