The Membrane Potential in the Up State of Striatal Neurons is Determined by Voltage-Activated Potassium Currents

  • Charles J. Wilson
  • Y. Kawaguchi
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 47)


Since the pioneering studies of Albe-Fessard (Albe-Fessard, et al, 1960) it has been well known that most striatal neurons fire rarely and in an episodic fashion. The relative silence of the striatal cells has been the topic of much experimental work and speculation. Initial intracellular recording experiments verified that the cells firing in this pattern are the spiny projection neurons (Wilson and Groves, 1981). Subsequent studies have refuted the previously held view that most striatal neurons are silent due to the action of a strong tonic inhibition (Wilson and Groves, 1981, Wilson et al., 1983, Calabresi et al., 1987, Calabresi et al., 1990, Wilson, 1993). Instead, it has been shown that the projection neurons of the neostriatum have very polarized membrane potentials and a low membrane resistance which opposes firing except during periods of strong excitatory inputs, and further that synaptic input to the projection cells is itself episodic in nature (Cowan and Wilson, 1994). Thus the firing pattern of striatal neurons is now considered primarily to be the product of the temporal pattern of converging excitatory inputs from the cerebral cortex and thalamus, rather than arising mainly from synaptic interconnections within the neostriatum.


Synaptic Input Striatal Neuron Striatal Projection Neuron Spiny Cell Neostriatal Neuron 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles J. Wilson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Y. Kawaguchi
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department Anatomy and NeurobiologyUniversity of Tennessee, MemphisMemphisUSA
  2. 2.Bio-Mimetic Control Research CenterThe Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN)Rokuban, Atsuta-ku, Nagoya, 456Japan

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