Ionic currents underlying spontaneous action potentials in isolated cerebellar purkinje neurons

Indira M. Raman*, Bruce P. Bean

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

298 Scopus citations

Abstract

Acutely dissociated cell bodies of mouse Purkinje neurons spontaneously fired action potentials at ~50 Hz (25°C). To directly measure the ionic currents underlying spontaneous activity, we voltage-clamped the cells using prerecorded spontaneous action potentials (spike trains) as voltage commands and used ionic substitution and selective blockers to isolate individual currents. The largest current flowing during the interspike interval was tetrodotoxin-sensitive sodium current (approximately -50 pA between -65 and - 60 mV). Although the neurons had large voltage-dependent calcium currents, the net current blocked by cobalt substitution for calcium was outward at all times during spike trains. Thus, the electrical effect of calcium current is apparently dominated by rapidly activated calcium-dependent potassium currents. Under current clamp, all cells continued firing spontaneously (though ~30% more slowly) after block of T-type calcium current by mibefradil, and most cells continued to fire after block of all calcium current by cobalt substitution. Although the neurons possessed hyperpolarization-activated cation current (l(h)), little current flowed during spike trains, and block by 1 mM cesium had no effect on firing frequency. The outward potassium currents underlying the repolarization of the spikes were completely blocked by 1 mM TEA. These currents deactivated quickly (<1 msec) after each spike. We conclude that the spontaneous firing of Purkinje neuron cell bodies depends mainly on tetrodotoxin-sensitive sodium current flowing between spikes. The high firing rate is promoted by large potassium currents that repolarize the cell rapidly and deactivate quickly, thus preventing strong hyperpolarization and restoring a high input resistance for subsequent depolarization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1663-1674
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume19
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 1999

Keywords

  • Calcium current
  • Cerebellum
  • L(h)
  • Pacemaker
  • Pacemaking
  • Potassium current
  • Sodium current
  • Spike

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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