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Type: Journal article
Title: Effects of large excitatory and inhibitory inputs on motoneuron discharge rate and probability
Author: Turker, Kemal Sitki
Powers, R. K.
Citation: Journal of Neurophysiology. 82(2):829-840
Issue Date: 1999
ISSN: 0022-3077
Statement of
Türker, K. S. and R. K. Powers.
Abstract: We elicited repetitive discharge in hypoglossal motoneurons recorded in slices of rat brain stem using a combination of a suprathreshold injected current step with superimposed noise to mimic the synaptic drive likely to occur during physiological activation. The effects of repetitive en mass stimulation of afferent nerves were simulated by the further addition of trains of injected current transients of varying shapes and sizes. The effects of a given current transient on motoneuron discharge timing and discharge rate were measured by calculating a peristimulus time histogram (PSTH) and a peristimulus frequencygram (PSF). The amplitude and time course of the simulated postsynaptic potentials (PSPs) produced by the current transients were calculated by convolving the current transient with an estimate of the passive impulse response of the motoneuron. We then compared the shape of the injected current transient and the simulated PSP to the profiles of the PSTH and the PSF records. The PSTHs produced by excitatory PSPs (EPSPs) were characterized by a large, short-latency increase in firing probability that lasted slightly longer than the rising phase of the EPSP, followed by a reduced discharge probability during the falling phase of the EPSP. In contrast, the PSF analysis revealed a proportionate increase in discharge rate over the entire profile of the EPSP, even though relatively few spikes occurred during the falling phase. The PSTHs associated with inhibitory PSPs (IPSPs) indicated a reduction in discharge probability during the initial, hyperpolarizing phase of the IPSP, followed by an increase in the discharge probability during its subsequent repolarizing phase. Using the PSF analysis, the initial phase of the IPSP appeared as a large hole in the record where a very small number or no discharges occurred. The subsequent phase of the IPSP was associated with frequency values that were lower than the background values. The primary features of both PSTHs and PSFs can be used to estimate the relative amplitudes of the underlying EPSPs and IPSPs. However, PSTHs contain secondary peaks and troughs that are not directly related to the underlying PSP but instead reflect the regular recurrence of spikes following those affected by the PSP. The PSF analysis is more useful for indicating the total duration and the profile of the underlying PSP. The shape of the underlying PSP can be obtained directly from the PSF records because the discharge frequency of the spikes follow the PSPs very closely, especially for EPSPs.
Rights: Copyright © 1999 The American Physiological Society
Appears in Collections:Physiology publications

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