Journal of Computational Neuroscience

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 243–259 | Cite as

Vestibular integrator neurons have quadratic functions due to voltage dependent conductances

  • Christophe Magnani
  • Daniel Eugène
  • Erwin Idoux
  • Lee E. Moore
Article

Abstract

The nonlinear properties of the dendrites of the prepositus hypoglossi nucleus (PHN) neurons are essential for the operation of the vestibular neural integrator that converts a head velocity signal to one that controls eye position. A novel system of frequency probing, namely quadratic sinusoidal analysis (QSA), was used to decode the intrinsic nonlinear behavior of these neurons under voltage clamp conditions. Voltage clamp currents were measured at harmonic and interactive frequencies using specific nonoverlapping stimulation frequencies. Eigenanalysis of the QSA matrix reduces it to a remarkably compact processing unit, composed of just one or two dominant components (eigenvalues). The QSA matrix of rat PHN neurons provides signatures of the voltage dependent conductances for their particular dendritic and somatic distributions. An important part of the nonlinear response is due to the persistent sodium conductance (gNaP), which is likely to be essential for sustained effects needed for a neural integrator. It was found that responses in the range of 10 mV peak to peak could be well described by quadratic nonlinearities suggesting that effects of higher degree nonlinearities would add only marginal improvement. Therefore, the quadratic response is likely to sufficiently capture most of the nonlinear behavior of neuronal systems except for extremely large synaptic inputs. Thus, neurons have two distinct linear and quadratic functions, which shows that piecewise linear + quadratic analysis is much more complete than just piecewise linear analysis; in addition quadratic analysis can be done at a single holding potential. Furthermore, the nonlinear neuronal responses contain more frequencies over a wider frequency band than the input signal. As a consequence, they convert limited amplitude and bandwidth input signals to wider bandwidth and more complex output responses. Finally, simulations at subthreshold membrane potentials with realistic PHN neuron models suggest that the quadratic functions are fundamentally dominated by active dendritic structures and persistent sodium conductances.

Keywords

Electrophysiology Vestibular neural integrator Membrane potential Admittance Quadratic sinusoidal analysis Persistent sodium conductance 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We wish to thank Professor Hans Straka for helpful comments. This work was supported in part by a grant from the Neuroinformatics Interdisciplinary Program of the CNRS.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christophe Magnani
    • 1
  • Daniel Eugène
    • 1
  • Erwin Idoux
    • 1
  • Lee E. Moore
    • 1
  1. 1.CESeM - UMR8194 - CNRS - Université Paris DescartesParis Cedex 06France

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