Active properties of hippocampal CA3 pyramidal neuron dendrites
By: Kim, SooyunMaterial type: TextPublisher: IST Austria 2012
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2 Materials and Methods
5 List of Abbreviations
7 Curriculum Vitae
CA3 pyramidal neurons are important for memory formation and pattern completion in the hippocampal network. These neurons receive multiple excitatory inputs from numerous sources. Therefore, the rules of spatiotemporal integration of multiple synaptic inputs and propagation of action potentials are important to understand how CA3 neurons contribute to higher brain functions at cellular level. By using confocally targeted patch-clamp recording techniques, we investigated the biophysical properties of rat CA3 pyramidal neuron dendrites. We found two distinct dendritic domains critical for action potential initiation and propagation: In the proximal domain, action potentials initiated in the axon backpropagate actively with large amplitude and fast time course. In the distal domain, Na+-channel mediated dendritic spikes are efficiently evoked by local dendritic depolarization or waveforms mimicking synaptic events. These findings can be explained by a high Na+-to-K+ conductance density ratio of CA3 pyramidal neuron dendrites. The results challenge the prevailing view that proximal mossy fiber inputs activate CA3 pyramidal neurons more efficiently than distal perforant inputs by showing that the distal synapses trigger a different form of activity represented by dendritic spikes. The high probability of dendritic spike initiation in the distal area may enhance the computational power of CA3 pyramidal neurons in the hippocampal network.