The European journal of neuroscience

Subthreshold delta-frequency resonance in thalamic reticular neurons.

PMID 24891125


The thalamic reticular nucleus (nRt) is an assembly of GABAergic projection neurons that participate in the generation of brain rhythms during synchronous sleep and absence epilepsy. NRt cells receive inhibitory and excitatory synaptic inputs, and are endowed with an intricate set of intrinsic conductances. However, little is known about how intrinsic and synaptic properties interact to generate rhythmic discharges in these neurons. In order to better understand this interaction, I studied the subthreshold responses of nRt cells to time-varying inputs. Patch-clamp recordings were performed in acute slices of rat thalamus (postnatal days 12-21). Sinusoidal current waveforms of linearly changing frequencies were injected into the soma, and the resulting voltage oscillations were recorded. At the resting membrane potential, the impedance profile showed a characteristic resonance at 1.7 Hz. The relative strength of the resonance was 1.2, and increased with membrane hyperpolarization. Small suprathreshold current injections led to preferred spike generation at the resonance frequency. Bath application of ZD7288 or Cs(+) , inhibitors of the hyperpolarization-activated cation current (Ih ), transformed the resonance into low-pass behaviour, whereas the T-channel blockers mibefradil and Ni(2+) decreased the strength of the resonance. It is concluded that nRt cells have an Ih -mediated intrinsic frequency preference in the subthreshold voltage range that favours action potential generation in the delta-frequency band.