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1: PLoS ONE. 2007 Mar 28;2:e319.Click here to read Click here to read Links

Spike Timing and Reliability in Cortical Pyramidal Neurons: Effects of EPSC Kinetics, Input Synchronization and Background Noise on Spike Timing.

Department of Neurobiology and Biophysics, Institute of Biology III, Albert-Ludwigs-University, Freiburg, Germany.

In vivo studies have shown that neurons in the neocortex can generate action potentials at high temporal precision. The mechanisms controlling timing and reliability of action potential generation in neocortical neurons, however, are still poorly understood. Here we investigated the temporal precision and reliability of spike firing in cortical layer V pyramidal cells at near-threshold membrane potentials. Timing and reliability of spike responses were a function of EPSC kinetics, temporal jitter of population excitatory inputs, and of background synaptic noise. We used somatic current injection to mimic population synaptic input events and measured spike probability and spike time precision (STP), the latter defined as the time window (Deltat) holding 80% of response spikes. EPSC rise and decay times were varied over the known physiological spectrum. At spike threshold level, EPSC decay time had a stronger influence on STP than rise time. Generally, STP was highest (</=2.45 ms) in response to synchronous compounds of EPSCs with fast rise and decay kinetics. Compounds with slow EPSC kinetics (decay time constants>6 ms) triggered spikes at lower temporal precision (>/=6.58 ms). We found an overall linear relationship between STP and spike delay. The difference in STP between fast and slow compound EPSCs could be reduced by incrementing the amplitude of slow compound EPSCs. The introduction of a temporal jitter to compound EPSCs had a comparatively small effect on STP, with a tenfold increase in jitter resulting in only a five fold decrease in STP. In the presence of simulated synaptic background activity, precisely timed spikes could still be induced by fast EPSCs, but not by slow EPSCs.

PMID: 17389910 [PubMed - in process]

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