Biophysical mechanism of spike threshold dependence on the rate of rise of the membrane potential by sodium channel inactivation or subthreshold axonal potassium current

Journal of Computational Neuroscience
Jason C Wester, Diego Contreras

Abstract

Spike threshold filters incoming inputs and thus gates activity flow through neuronal networks. Threshold is variable, and in many types of neurons there is a relationship between the threshold voltage and the rate of rise of the membrane potential (dVm/dt) leading to the spike. In primary sensory cortex this relationship enhances the sensitivity of neurons to a particular stimulus feature. While Na⁺ channel inactivation may contribute to this relationship, recent evidence indicates that K⁺ currents located in the spike initiation zone are crucial. Here we used a simple Hodgkin-Huxley biophysical model to systematically investigate the role of K⁺ and Na⁺ current parameters (activation voltages and kinetics) in regulating spike threshold as a function of dVm/dt. Threshold was determined empirically and not estimated from the shape of the Vm prior to a spike. This allowed us to investigate intrinsic currents and values of gating variables at the precise voltage threshold. We found that Na⁺ nactivation is sufficient to produce the relationship provided it occurs at hyperpolarized voltages combined with slow kinetics. Alternatively, hyperpolarization of the K⁺ current activation voltage, even in the absence of Na⁺ inactivation, is ...Continue Reading

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Related Concepts

In Silico
Biophysical Processes
Resting Potentials
Neurons
Transcription Initiation
Biophysics
Axon
Neuronal
Voltage-Clamp Techniques
Mechanobiology

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