Consistency and diversity of spike dynamics in the neurons of bed nucleus of stria terminalis of the rat: A dynamic clamp study

Attila Szücs, Fulvia Berton, Thomas Nowotny, Pietro Sanna, Walter Francesconi

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Neurons display a high degree of variability and diversity in the expression and regulation of their voltage-dependent ionic channels. Under low level of synaptic background a number of physiologically distinct cell types can be identified in most brain areas that display different responses to standard forms of intracellular current stimulation. Nevertheless, it is not well understood how biophysically different neurons process synaptic inputs in natural conditions, i.e., when experiencing intense synaptic bombardment in vivo. While distinct cell types might process synaptic inputs into different patterns of action potentials representing specific "motifs" of network activity, standard methods of electrophysiology are not well suited to resolve such questions. In the current paper we performed dynamic clamp experiments with simulated synaptic inputs that were presented to three types of neurons in the juxtacapsular bed nucleus of stria terminalis (jcBNST) of the rat. Our analysis on the temporal structure of firing showed that the three types of jcBNST neurons did not produce qualitatively different spike responses under identical patterns of input. However, we observed consistent, cell type dependent variations in the fine structure of firing, at the level of single spikes. At the millisecond resolution structure of firing we found high degree of diversity across the entire spectrum of neurons irrespective of their type. Additionally, we identified a new cell type with intrinsic oscillatory properties that produced a rhythmic and regular firing under synaptic stimulation that distinguishes it from the previously described jcBNST cell types. Our findings suggest a sophisticated, cell type dependent regulation of spike dynamics of neurons when experiencing a complex synaptic background. The high degree of their dynamical diversity has implications to their cooperative dynamics and synchronization.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere11920
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Oct 19 2010


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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