Dopamine neurons change the type of excitability in response to stimuli

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Ekaterina O MorozovaAlexey Kuznetsov


The dynamics of neural excitability determine the neuronal response to stimuli, its synchronization and resonance properties and, ultimately, the computations it performs in the brain. We investigated the dynamical mechanisms underlying the excitability type of dopamine (DA) neurons, using a conductance based biophysical model, and its regulation by intrinsic and synaptic currents. By calibrating the model to reproduce low frequency tonic firing, NMDA excitation is balanced by GABA-mediated inhibition and leads to type I excitable behavior characterized by a continuous decrease in firing frequency in response to hyperpolarizing currents. Furthermore, we analyzed how excitability type of the DA neuron model is influenced by changes in the intrinsic current composition. A subthreshold sodium current is necessary for a continuous frequency decrease during application of a negative current, and the low-frequency balanced state during simultaneous activation of NMDA and GABA receptors. Blocking this current switches the neuron to type II. Enhancing the anomalous rectifier Ih current also switches the excitability to type II. Key characteristics of synaptic conductances that may be observed in vivo also change the type of excitabilit...Continue Reading

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