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Exp Brain Res. 1998 Jan;118(2):148-54.

Development of action potentials and apamin-sensitive after-potentials in mouse vestibular nucleus neurones.

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Department of Physiology, Medical School, Edinburgh, UK.


The postnatal maturation of medial vestibular nucleus (MVN) neurones was examined in slices of the dorsal brainstem prepared from balb/c mice at specific stages during the first postnatal month. Using spike-shape averaging to analyse the intracellularly recorded action potentials and after-hyperpolarizations (AHPs) in each cell, all the MVN neurones recorded in the young adult (postnatal day 30; P30) mouse were shown to have either a single deep AHP (type A cells), or an early fast and a delayed slow AHP (type B cells). The relative proportions of the two subtypes were similar to those in the young adult rat. At P5, all the MVN cells recorded showed immature forms of either the type A or the type B action potential shape. Immature type A cells had broad spontaneous spikes, and the characteristic single AHP was small in amplitude. Immature type B cells had somewhat narrower spontaneous spikes that were followed by a delayed, apamin-sensitive AHP. The delayed AHP was separated from the repolarisation phase of the spike by a period of isopotentiality. Over the period P10-P15, the mean resting potentials of the MVN cells became more negative, their action potential fall-times became shorter, the single AHP in type A cells became deeper, and the early fast AHP appeared in type B cells. Until P15 cells of varying degrees of electrophysiological maturity were found in the MVN but by P30 all MVN cells recorded were typical adult type A or type B cells. Exposure to the selective blocker of SK-type Ca-activated K channels, apamin (0.3 microM), induced depolarising plateaux and burst firing in immature type B cells at rest. The duration of the apamin-induced bursts and the spike frequency during the bursts were reduced but not abolished after blockade of Ca channels in Ca-free artificial cerebrospinal fluid containing Cd2+. By contrast, in mature type B cells at rest apamin selectively abolished the delayed slow AHP but did not induce bursting activity. Apamin had no effect on the action potential shape of immature type A cells. These data show that the apamin-sensitive I(AHP) is one of the first ionic conductances to appear in type B cells, and that it plays an important role in regulating the intrinsic rhythmicity and excitability of these cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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