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Koch, Ursula; Grothe, Benedikt ORCID: 0000-0001-7317-0615 (2003): Hyperpolarization-activated current (I-h) in the inferior colliculus: Distribution and contribution to temporal processing. In: Journal of Neurophysiology, Vol. 90, No. 6: pp. 3679-3687
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Neurons in the inferior colliculus (IC) process acoustic information converging from inputs from almost all nuclei of the auditory brain stem. Despite its importance in auditory processing, little is known about the distribution of ion currents in IC neurons, namely the hyperpolarization-activated current I-h. This current, as shown in neurons of the auditory brain stem, contributes to the precise analysis of temporal information. Distribution and properties of the I-h current and its contribution to membrane properties and synaptic integration were examined by current- and voltage-clamp recordings obtained from IC neurons in acute slices of rats (P17-P19). Based on firing patterns to positive current injection, three basic response types were distinguished: onset, adapting, and sustained firing neurons. Onset and adapting cells showed an I-h-dependent depolarizing sag and had a more depolarized resting membrane potential and lower input resistance than sustained neurons. I-h amplitudes were largest in onset, medium in adapting, and small in sustained neurons. I-h activation kinetics was voltage dependent in all neurons and faster in onset and adapting compared with sustained neurons. Injecting trains of simulated synaptic currents into the neurons or evoking inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (IPSPs) by stimulating the lemniscal tract showed that I-h reduced temporal summation of excitatory and inhibitory potentials in onset but not in sustained neurons. Blocking I-h also abolished afterhyperpolarization and rebound spiking. These results suggest that, in a large proportion of IC cells, namely the onset and adapting neurons, I-h improves precise temporal processing and contributes to the temporal analysis of input patterns.