Most cortical neurons fire regularly when excited by a constant stimulus. In contrast, irregular-spiking (IS) interneurons are remarkable for the intrinsic variability of their spike timing, which can synchronize amongst IS cells via specific gap junctions. Here, we have studied the biophysical mechanisms of this irregular spiking in mice, and how IS cells fire in the context of synchronous network oscillations. Using patch-clamp recordings, artificial dynamic conductance injection, pharmacological analysis and computational modeling, we show that spike time irregularity is generated by a nonlinear dynamical interaction of voltage-dependent sodium and fast-inactivating potassium channels just below spike threshold, amplifying channel noise. This active irregularity may help IS cells synchronize with each other at gamma range frequencies, while resisting synchronization to lower input frequencies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)