Distal Initiation and Active Propagation of Action Potentials in Interneuron Dendrites

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Science  14 Jan 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5451, pp. 295-300
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5451.295

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Fast and reliable activation of inhibitory interneurons is critical for the stability of cortical neuronal networks. Active conductances in dendrites may facilitate interneuron activation, but direct experimental evidence was unavailable. Patch-clamp recordings from dendrites of hippocampal oriens-alveus interneurons revealed high densities of voltage-gated sodium and potassium ion channels. Simultaneous recordings from dendrites and somata suggested that action potential initiation occurs preferentially in the axon with long threshold stimuli, but can be shifted to somatodendritic sites when brief stimuli are applied. After initiation, action potentials propagate over the somatodendritic domain with constant amplitude, high velocity, and reliability, even during high-frequency trains.

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