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Dynamic Analysis of the Conditional Oscillator Underlying Slow Waves in Thalamocortical Neurons

David, Francois, Crunelli, Vincenzo, Leresche, Nathalie and Lambert, Régis C. 2016. Dynamic Analysis of the Conditional Oscillator Underlying Slow Waves in Thalamocortical Neurons. Frontiers in Neural Circuits 10 , pp. 1-11. 10.3389/fncir.2016.00010

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During non-REM sleep the EEG shows characteristics waves that are generated by the dynamic interactions between cortical and thalamic oscillators. In thalamic neurons, low-threshold T-type Ca2+ channels play a pivotal role in almost every type of neuronal oscillations, including slow (< 1 Hz) waves, sleep spindles and delta waves. The transient opening of T channels gives rise to the low threshold spikes (LTSs), and associated high frequency bursts of action potentials, that are characteristically present during sleep spindles and delta waves, whereas the persistent opening of a small fraction of T channels, (i.e., ITwindow) is responsible for the membrane potential bistability underlying sleep slow oscillations. Surprisingly thalamocortical (TC) neurons express a very high density of T channels that largely exceed the amount required to generate LTSs and therefore, to support certain, if not all, sleep oscillations. Here, to clarify the relationship between T current density and sleep oscillations, we systematically investigated the impact of the T conductance level on the intrinsic rhythmic activities generated in TC neurons, combining in vitro experiments and TC neuron simulation. Using bifurcation analysis, we provide insights into the dynamical processes taking place at the transition between slow and delta oscillations. Our results show that although stable delta oscillations can be evoked with minimal T conductance, the full range of slow oscillation patterns, including groups of delta oscillations separated by Up states (“grouped-delta slow waves”) requires a high density of T channels. Moreover, high levels of T conductance ensure the robustness of different types of slow oscillations.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Publisher: Frontiers
ISSN: 16625110
Funders: Wellcome Trust
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 24 May 2016
Date of Acceptance: 8 February 2016
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2020 02:36

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