Physiological Properties of Hippocampal Neurons

  • Marco MartinaEmail author
  • Cheng-Chang Lien
Part of the Springer Series in Computational Neuroscience book series (NEUROSCI)


Neurons are the basic computational units of the nervous system. Information processing in the brain is critically dependent on the electrophysiological properties of individual neurons, which are determined by the presence and distribution of many functionally and pharmacologically different ion channels. The parameters that define the functional roles of individual neurons can be grouped into two major groups: on one side are cellular morphology and topology, which dictate the connectivity of each neuron; on the other side are the different electrophysiological properties of each cell type, which are defined by the combined effects of neuronal active and passive properties and shape the integrative function of each individual cell. The type and timing of neuronal responses to synaptic inputs depend on the firing pattern of each neuron, which in turn is set by the interplay of intrinsic and synaptic electrophysiological properties. In recent years it has also become clear that within each individual neuron the electrophysiological properties are not homogeneous but vary in the various cellular compartments. In particular, it has been shown that dendrites, far from being simple cellular antennas that passively conduct synaptic inputs toward the soma and the axon, are very active structures capable of actively boost synaptic inputs and, at least in some neurons, of generating action potentials that effectively propagate to the soma (Llinás and Sugimori, J Physiol 305:197–213, 1980; Stuart and Sakmann, Nature 367:69–72, 1994; Häusser et al., Neuron 15:637–647, 1995; Spruston et al., Science 268:297–300, 1995; Martina et al., Science 287:295–300, 2000). Thus, the different voltage-gated ion channels expressed by each neuron and in each cellular compartment within individual neurons play a fundamental role in shaping the electrical response of individual neurons to synaptic stimulation and ultimately in dictating the role of each neuron within the hippocampal network. This chapter will focus on the properties and distribution of voltage-gated ion channels in some of the major neuronal types in the hippocampus and dentate gyrus.


Electrophysiology Voltage-gated ion channels Resting membrane potential Input resistance Response 

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyNorthwestern University, Feinberg School of MedicineChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Institute of NeuroscienceNational Yang-Ming UniversityTaipeiTaiwan

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