Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Neurophysiol. 1998 Dec;80(6):3047-61.

Development of ionic currents underlying changes in action potential waveforms in rat spinal motoneurons.

Author information

Department of Physiology and Center for Neuroscience, University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.


Development of ionic currents underlying changes in action potential waveforms in rat spinal motoneurons. J. Neurophysiol. 80: 3047-3061, 1998. Differentiation of the ionic mechanism underlying changes in action potential properties was investigated in spinal motoneurons of embryonic and postnatal rats using whole cell voltage- and current-clamp recordings. Relatively slow-rising, prolonged, largely Na+-dependent action potentials were recorded in embryonic motoneurons, and afterdepolarizing potentials were elicited in response to prolonged intracellular injections of depolarizing currents. Action potential amplitude, as well as its rates of rise and repolarization significantly increased, and an afterhyperpolarizing potential (AHP) became apparent immediately after birth. Concurrently, repetitive action potential firing was elicited in response to a prolonged current injection. To determine the ionic mechanism underlying these changes, the properties of voltage-gated macroscopic Na+, Ca2+, and K+ currents were examined. Fast-rising Na+ currents (INa) and slow-rising Ca2+ currents (ICa) were expressed early in embryonic development, but only INa was necessary and sufficient to trigger an action potential. INa and ICa densities significantly increased while the time to peak INa and ICa decreased after birth. The postnatal increase in INa resulted in overshooting action potential with significantly faster rate of rise than that recorded before birth. Properties of three types of outward K+ currents were examined: transient type-A current (IA), noninactivating delayed rectifier-type current (IK), and Ca2+-dependent K+ current (IK(Ca)). The twofold postnatal increase in IK and IK(Ca) densities resulted in shorter duration action potential and the generation of AHP. Relatively large IA was expressed early in neuronal development, but unlike IK and IK(Ca) its density did not increase after birth. The three types of K+ channels had opposite modulatory actions on action potential firing behavior: IK and IA increased the firing rate, whereas IK(Ca) decreased it. Our findings demonstrated that the developmental changes in action potential waveforms and the onset of repetitive firing were correlated with large increases in the densities of existing voltage-gated ion channels rather than the expression of new channel types.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center