Fidelity of complex spike-mediated synaptic transmission between inhibitory interneurons.
ABSTRACT Complex spikes are high-frequency bursts of Na+ spikes, often riding on a slower Ca2+-dependent waveform. Although complex spikes may propagate into axons, given their unusual shape it is not clear how reliably these bursts reach nerve terminals, whether their spikes are efficiently transmitted as a cluster of postsynaptic responses, or what function is served by such a concentrated postsynaptic signal. We examined these questions by recording from synaptically coupled pairs of cartwheel cells, neurons which fire complex spikes and form an inhibitory network in the dorsal cochlear nucleus. Complex spikes in the presynaptic soma were reliably propagated to nerve terminals and elicited powerful, temporally precise postsynaptic responses. Single presynaptic neurons could prevent their postsynaptic partner from firing complex but not simple spikes, dramatically reducing dendritic Ca2+ signals in the postsynaptic neuron. We suggest that rapid transmission of complex spikes may control the susceptibility of neighboring neurons to Ca2+-dependent plasticity.
Article: Computation of action potential propagation and presynaptic bouton activation in terminal arborizations of different geometries.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Action potential propagation in axons with bifurcations involving short collaterals with synaptic boutons has been simulated using SPICE, a general purpose electrical circuit simulation program. The large electrical load of the boutons may lead to propagation failure at otherwise uncritical geometric ratios. Because the action potential gradually fails while approaching the branch point, the electrotonic spread of the failing action potential cannot depolarize the terminal boutons above an assumed threshold of 20 mV (Vrest = 0 mV) for the presynaptic calcium inflow, and therefore fails to evoke transmitter release even for boutons attached at short collaterals. For even shorter collaterals the terminal boutons can again be activated by the spread of passive current reflected at the sealed end of the bouton which increases the membrane potential above firing threshold. The action potential is then propagated in anterograde fashion into the main axon and may activate the terminal bouton on the other collateral. Differential activation of the synaptic boutons can be observed without repetitive activation of the main axon and with the assumption of uniform membrane properties. Axon enlargements above a critical size at branch points can increase the safety factor for propagation significantly and may serve a double function: they can act both as presynaptic boutons and as boosters, facilitating invasion of the action potential into the terminal arborizations. The architecture of the terminal arborizations has a profound effect on the activation pattern of synapses, suggesting that terminal arborizations not only distribute neural information to postsynaptic cells but may also be able to process neural information presynaptically.Biophysical Journal 01/1991; 58(6):1377-88. · 3.65 Impact Factor
Article: Action potential fidelity during normal and epileptiform activity in paired soma-axon recordings from rat hippocampus.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Although action potential initiation and propagation are fundamental to nervous system function, there are few direct electrophysiological observations of propagating action potentials in small unmyelinated fibres, such as the axons within mammalian hippocampus. To circumvent limitations of previous studies that relied on extracellular stimulation, we performed dual recordings: whole-cell recordings from hippocampal CA3 pyramidal cell somas and extracellular recordings from their axons, up to 800 micro m away. During brief spike trains under normal conditions, axonal spikes were more resistant to amplitude reduction than somatic spikes. Axonal amplitude depression was greatest at the axon initial segment < 150 microm from the soma, and initiation occurred approximately 75 microm from the soma. Although prior studies, which failed to verify spike initiation, suggested substantial axonal depression during seizure-associated extracellular K+([K+]o) rises, we found that 8 mm [K+]o caused relatively small decreases in axonal spike amplitude during brief spike trains. However, during sustained, epileptiform spiking induced in 8 mm [K+]o, axonal waveforms decreased significantly in peak amplitude. During epileptiform spiking, bursts of two or more action potentials > 20 Hz failed to propagate in most cases. In normal [K+]o at 25 and 32 degrees C, spiking superimposed on sustained somatic depolarization, but not spiking alone, produced similar axonal changes as the epileptiform activity. These results highlight the likely importance of steady-state inactivation of axonal channels in maintaining action potential fidelity. Such changes in axonal propagation properties could encode information and/or serve as an endogenous brake on seizure propagation.The Journal of Physiology 08/2005; 566(Pt 2):425-41. · 4.72 Impact Factor