December 1, 2020

Mild membrane depolarization in neurons induces immediate early gene transcription and acutely subdues responses to successive stimulus.

The transcriptional profile of immediate early genes (IEGs) is indicative of the duration of neuronal activity, but it is unknown whether it affected by the strength of depolarization. Also unknown is whether an activity history of graded potential changes influences further neuronal activity. In this work with dissociated rat cortical neurons, we found mild depolarization mediated by elevated extracellular KCl not only induces a wide array of rapid IEGs, but also transiently depresses transcriptional and signaling responses to a successive stimulus. This latter effect was independent of de novo transcription, translation, calcineurin (CaN) signaling, and MAPK signaling downstream of PKC. Furthermore, as measured by multiple electrode arrays, mild depolarization acutely subdues subsequent spontaneous and bicuculline-evoked activity. Collectively, this work suggests that a recent history of graded potential changes acutely depresses neuronal intrinsic properties and subsequent responses. Such effects may have several potential downstream implications, including reducing signal-to-noise ratio during Hebbian plasticity processes.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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