Computational models constrained by voltage-clamp data for investigating dendritic currents

Alain Destexhe, Diego Contreras, Mircea Steriade, Terrence J. Sejnowski and John R. Huguenard

In: Computational Neuroscience , Edited by Bower, J., Academic Press, New York, 1996, pp. 53-58.

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We have investigated dendritic currents using a combination of experimental and modeling approaches. Voltage-clamp recordings were obtained in neurons with and without dendrites (intact vs. dissociated cells), and the recordings were compared to simulations that incorporated the corresponding dendritic morphology. This approach was applied to thalamic reticular cells to examine dendritic location of the low-threshold calcium current (IT). The simulations matched the recordings only if IT was located in distal dendrites with high density. Moreover, dendritic IT was also necessary to reproduce the typical responses of these cells seen in intracellular recordings in vivo. This approach can be used to investigate other types of neurons with active dendritic currents.

See related paper: A. Destexhe, D. Contreras, M. Steriade, T.J. Sejnowski and J.R. Huguenard. In vivo, in vitro and computational analysis of dendritic calcium currents in thalamic reticular neurons. J. Neurosci. 16: 169-185, 1996.

Serveral movie files are available and illustrate the dynamics of membrane potential in soma and dendrites of thalamic reticular neurons. The original NEURON programs that served to simulate this model are also available. They provide a useful way to learn how to design compartmental models using NEURON.

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