October 31, 2020

Dendritic spikes in apical oblique dendrites of cortical layer 5 pyramidal neurons

Dendritic spikes in layer 5 pyramidal neurons (L5PNs) play a major role in cortical computation. While dendritic spikes have been studied extensively in apical and basal dendrites of L5PNs, whether oblique dendrites, which ramify in the input layers of the cortex, also generate dendritic spikes is unknown. Here we report the existence of dendritic spikes in apical oblique dendrites of L5PNs. In silico investigations indicate that oblique branch spikes are triggered by brief, low-frequency action potential (AP) trains (~40 Hz) and are characterized by a fast sodium spike followed by activation of voltage-gated calcium channels. In vitro experiments confirmed the existence of oblique branch spikes in L5PNs during brief AP trains at frequencies of around 60 Hz. Oblique branch spikes offer new insights into branch-specific computation in L5PNs and may be critical for sensory processing in the input layers of the cortex.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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