Subthreshold membrane potential oscillations of type A neurons in injured DRG

J L Xing, S J Hu, K P Long
Brain Research 2001 May 18, 901 (1): 128-36
An abundance of subthreshold membrane potential oscillations (SMPOs) at resting potential was observed in the neurons of chronically compressed dorsal root ganglia (DRG) using intracellular recording in vivo. Out of 386 neurons, 63 type A neurons displayed SMPOs. Three types of SMPOs were distinguished based on their characterizations of oscillation: (1) A regular pattern of SMPO emerged consistently with a mean frequency of 86 Hz and mean amplitudes of 3.3 mV. (2) A spindle-like pattern of SMPO was denominated by a spindle alteration of its amplitude. (3) An irregular pattern of SMPO had no rule on its change of amplitude and frequency. Compared with normal DRG neurons and injured DRG neurons but without SMPO, the injured DRG neurons with SMPO had the lowest spike rheobase, in accordance with the detection of spike accommodation. No significant differences among the three groups can be found in either membrane potential or input resistance. Further observation showed that the spontaneous discharge of hyperexcitable neurons usually occurred on the depolarizing phase of oscillations. In addition, the regular pattern of SMPO was based on the period and integer multiple patterns of spontaneous discharges. The spindle-like pattern of SMPO contributed to spontaneous bursting discharge. The irregular pattern of SMPO had a striking relation with irregular spontaneous discharge. The results show that neurons with SMPO in injured DRG have a higher excitability than those without SMPO, and that the SMPO underlie the patterns of spontaneous discharges, suggesting that SMPO is the basic electrophysiological change of hyperexcitable neurons.

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