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A requirement of low-threshold calcium spike for induction of spike-timing-dependent plasticity at corticothalamic synapses on relay neurons in the ventrobasal nucleus of rat thalamus

, : A requirement of low-threshold calcium spike for induction of spike-timing-dependent plasticity at corticothalamic synapses on relay neurons in the ventrobasal nucleus of rat thalamus. Chinese Journal of Physiology 55(6): 380-389

Relay neurons in sensory thalamus transmit somatosensory information to cerebral cortex and receive sensory and feedback corticothalamic (CT) synaptic inputs. Their duality of firing modes, in bursts and continuous, underlies state dependence of thalamic information transfer, but the impact of different firing patterns on synaptic plasticity was rarely explored. To address this issue, we made whole-cell recording from relay neurons in the ventrobasal nucleus (VBN) of rat thalamus and compared synaptic plasticity induced by pairing CT-EPSP with two different types of burst spiking: low-threshold spike (LTS)-burst spiking triggered at Vm~-70 mV, and high-frequency spiking induced at Vm~-55 mV. The latter mimics natural burst spiking of relay neurons without activation of LTS. We found that, while backpropagating APs alone were not sufficient, low-threshold calcium spike was required for the induction of spike-timing-dependent LTP at CT synapses. Our results reveal a novel role of the calcium spike plays in the induction of long-term plasticity of CT synapse. Considering the dendritic origin of LTS, this study also implies potential physiological regulations over synaptic plasticity in thalamus. We propose that this form of synaptic plasticity may be involved in the dynamic fine-tuning of thalamocortical information relay.


PMID: 23286445

DOI: 10.4077/CJP.2012.BAA047

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