, 43:77 | Cite as

Structure-Dependent Electrical and Concentration Processes in the Dendrites of Pyramidal Neurons of Superficial Neocortical Layers: Model Study

  • I. B. Kulagina
  • V. I. Kukushka
  • S. M. Korogod

On mathematical models of pyramidal neurons localized in the neocortical layers 2/3, whose reconstructed dendritic arborization possessed passive linear or active nonlinear membrane properties, we studied the effect of morphology of the dendrites on their passive electrical transfer characteristics and also on the formation of patterns of spike discharges at the output of the cell under conditions of tonic activation via uniformly distributed excitatory synapses along the dendrites. For this purpose, we calculated morphometric characteristics of the size, complexity, metric asymmetry, and function of effectiveness of somatopetal transmission of the current (with estimation of the sensitivity of this efficacy to changes in the uniform membrane conductance) for the reconstructed dendritic arborization in general and also for its apical and basal subtrees. Spatial maps of the membrane potential and intracellular calcium concentration, which corresponded to certain temporal patterns of spike discharges generated by the neuron upon different intensities of synaptic activation, were superimposed on the 3D image and dendrograms of the neuron. These maps were considered “spatial autographs” of the above patterns. The main discharge pattern included periodic two-spike bursts (dublets) generated with relatively stable intraburst interspike intervals and interburst intervals decreasing with a rise in the intensity of activation. Under conditions of intense activation, the interburst intervals became close to the intraburst intervals, so the cell began to generate continuous trains of action potentials. Such a repertoire (consisting of two patterns of the activity, periodical dublets and continuous discharges) is considerably scantier than that described earlier in pyramidal neurons of the neocortical layer 5. Under analogous conditions of activation, we observed in the latter cells a variety of patterns of output discharges of different complexities, including stochastic ones. A relatively short length of the apical dendrite subtree of layer 2/3 neurons and, correspondingly, a smaller metric asymmetry (differences between the lengths of the apical and basal dendritic branches and paths), as compared with those in layer 5 pyramidal neurons, are morphological factors responsible for the predominance of periodic spike dublets. As a result, there were two combinations of different electrical states of the sites of dendritic arborization (“spatial autographs”). In the case of dublets, these were high depolarization of the apical dendrites vs. low depolarization of the basal dendrites and a reverse combination; only the latter (reverse) combination corresponded to the case of continuous discharges. The relative simplicity and uniformity of spike patterns in the cells, apparently, promotes the predominance of network interaction in the processes of formation of the activity of pyramidal neurons of layers 2/3 and, thereby, a higher efficiency of the processes of intracortical association.


pyramidal neurons cortical layers 2/3 dendritic arborizations complexity metric asymmetry somatopetal transmission tonic activation efferent activity of pyramidal neurons 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. B. Kulagina
    • 1
  • V. I. Kukushka
    • 2
  • S. M. Korogod
    • 1
  1. 1.International Center for Molecular Physiology (Dnipropetrovsk Section)National Academy of Sciences of UkraineDnipropetrovskUkraine
  2. 2.Oles’ Gohchar National UniversityDnipropetrovskUkraine

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