Systematic variation in effects of serotonin and norepinephrine on repetitive firing properties of ventral horn neurons

R. D. Theiss, Cj Heckman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Spinal interneurons are essential integrators of descending and peripheral input that receive profuse monoaminergic influence from brainstem nuclei. In this study, the effects of the monoamines serotonin and norepinephrine on the intrinsic properties of ventral horn interneurons were investigated in a slice preparation of the lumbar cord of 7-19 day old rats. Three cell groups with distinct firing patterns in response to steps of injected current were observed and classified as repetitive-firing, initial-burst or single-spiking. Input conductance tended to be largest in single-spiking cells whereas repetitive-firing cells showed the greatest tendency for spontaneous firing and had the fastest rate of rise for the action potential. Rhythmic firing behaviors were defined by the frequency-current relation evoked by linearly increasing current ramps. The monoaminergic modulation of firing patterns and frequency-current relations was primarily studied in repetitive-firing cells. The frequency-current threshold current was decreased in cells with high pre-drug values and increased in cells with low pre-drug values. Therefore, monoamine administration decreased the input-output heterogeneity of the repetitive-firing cells by compressing the range of frequency-current threshold currents. This action of monoamines may have a key role in the suppression of sensory-evoked reflexes and the production of coordinated movement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)803-815
Number of pages13
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 23 2005


  • Electrophysiology
  • Interneuron
  • Monoamine
  • Rat
  • Slice
  • Spinal cord

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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