Long-term Inactivation Of Sodium Channels As A Mechanism Of Adaptation In Ca1 Pyramidal Neurons

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Journal of Neuroscience


Many hippocampal CA1 pyramidal cells function as place cells, increasing their firing rate when a specific place field is traversed. The dependence of CA1 place cell firing on position within the place field is asymmetric. We investigated the source of this asymmetry by injecting triangular depolarizing current ramps to approximate the spatially tuned, temporally diffuse depolarizing synaptic input received by these neurons while traversing a place field. Ramps were applied to CA1 pyramidal neurons from male rats in vitro (slice electrophysiology) and in silico (multicompartmental NEURON model). Under control conditions, CA1 neurons fired more action potentials at higher frequencies on the up-ramp versus the down-ramp. This effect was more pronounced for dendritic compared with somatic ramps. We incorporated a four-state Markov scheme for NaV1.6 channels into our model and calibrated the spatial dependence of long-term inactivation according to the literature; this spatial dependence was sufficient to explain the difference in dendritic versus somatic ramps. Long-term inactivation reduced the firing frequency by decreasing open-state occupancy, and reduced spike amplitude during trains by decreasing occupancy in the closed state, which comprises the available pool. PKC activator phorbol-dibutyrate, known to reduce NaV long-term inactivation, removed spike amplitude attenuation in vitro more visibly in dendrites and greatly reduced adaptation, consistent with our hypothesized mechanism. Intracellular application of a peptide inducing long-term NaV inactivation elicited spike amplitude attenuation during spike trains in the soma and greatly enhanced adaptation. Our synergistic experimental/computational approach shows that long-term inactivation of NaV1.6 is a key mechanism of adaptation in CA1 pyramidal cells.

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