Differences in biophysical properties of nucleus accumbens medium spiny neurons emerging from inactivation of inward rectifying potassium currents

Abstract

Inward rectifying potassium (KIR) currents in medium spiny (MS) neurons of nucleus accumbens inactivate significantly in ~40% of the neurons but not in the rest, which may lead to differences in input processing by these two groups. Using a 189-compartment computational model of the MS neuron, we investigate the influence of this property using injected current as well as spatiotemporally distributed synaptic inputs. Our study demonstrates that KIR current inactivation facilitates depolarization, firing frequency and firing onset in these neurons. These effects may be attributed to the higher input resistance of the cell as well as a more depolarized resting/down-state potential induced by the inactivation of this current. In view of the reports that dendritic intracellular calcium levels depend closely on burst strength and spike onset time, our findings suggest that inactivation of KIR currents may offer a means of modulating both excitability and synaptic plasticity in MS neurons.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank John A. Wolf and Jason T. Moyer for their help in constructing the model, and Krishna Ramkumar for help with some of the simulations. Financial support for this work from the Department of Biotechnology, New Delhi (project no. BT/PR9599/Med/30/34/2007) and from IIT Bombay, as part of the cross disciplinary research group initiative (project no. 03/DG/002), is gratefully acknowledged.

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Correspondence to John Eric Steephen.

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Parameter estimation of KIR currents (DOC 116 kb)

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Steephen, J.E., Manchanda, R. Differences in biophysical properties of nucleus accumbens medium spiny neurons emerging from inactivation of inward rectifying potassium currents. J Comput Neurosci 27, 453 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10827-009-0161-7

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Keywords

  • Medium spiny neuron
  • Inward rectifying potassium current
  • Inactivation