Morphological Characteristics of Electrophysiologically Characterized Layer Vb Pyramidal Cells in Rat Barrel Cortex
SourcePLoS One, 11, 10, (2016), article e0164004
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectRadboudumc 7: Neurodevelopmental disorders DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience
Layer Vb pyramidal cells are the major output neurons of the neocortex and transmit the outcome of cortical columnar signal processing to distant target areas. At the same time they contribute to local tactile information processing by emitting recurrent axonal collaterals into the columnar microcircuitry. It is, however, not known how exactly the two types of pyramidal cells, called slender-tufted and thick-tufted, contribute to the local circuitry. Here, we investigated in the rat barrel cortex the detailed quantitative morphology of biocytin-filled layer Vb pyramidal cells in vitro, which were characterized for their intrinsic electrophysiology with special emphasis on their action potential firing pattern. Since we stained the same slices for cytochrome oxidase, we could also perform layer- and column-related analyses. Our results suggest that in layer Vb the unambiguous action potential firing patterns "regular spiking (RS)" and "repetitive burst spiking (RB)" (previously called intrinsically burst spiking) correlate well with a distinct morphology. RS pyramidal cells are somatodendritically of the slender-tufted type and possess numerous local intralaminar and intracolumnar axonal collaterals, mostly reaching layer I. By contrast, their transcolumnar projections are less well developed. The RB pyramidal cells are somatodendritically of the thick-tufted type and show only relatively sparse local axonal collaterals, which are preferentially emitted as long horizontal or oblique infragranular collaterals. However, contrary to many previous slice studies, a substantial number of these neurons also showed axonal collaterals reaching layer I. Thus, electrophysiologically defined pyramidal cells of layer Vb show an input and output pattern which suggests RS cells to be more "locally segregating" signal processors whereas RB cells seem to act more on a "global integrative" scale.
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