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Sutor, Bernd; Hablitz, John H. (1989): EPSPs in rat neocortical neurons in vitro. I. Electrophysiological evidence for two distinct EPSPs. In: Journal of Neurophysiology, Vol. 61, Nr. 3: S. 607-620




1. To investigate excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs), intracellular recordings were performed in layer II/III neurons of the rat medial frontal cortex. The average resting membrane potential of the neurons was more than -75 mV and their average input resistance was greater than 20 M omega. The amplitudes of the action potentials evoked by injection of depolarizing current pulses were greater than 100 mV. The electrophysiological properties of the neurons recorded were similar to those of regular-spiking pyramidal cells. 2. Current-voltage relationships, determined by injecting inward and outward current pulses, displayed considerable inward rectification in both the depolarizing and hyperpolarizing directions. The steady-state input resistance increased with depolarization and decreased with hyperpolarization, concomitant with increases and decreases, respectively, in the membrane time constant. 3. Postsynaptic potentials were evoked by electrical stimulation via a bipolar electrode positioned in layer IV of the neocortex. Stimulus-response relationships, determined by gradually increasing the stimulus intensity, were consistent among the population of neurons examined. A short-latency EPSP [early EPSP (eEPSP)] was the response with the lowest threshold. Amplitudes of the eEPSP ranged from 4 to 8 mV. Following a hyperpolarization of the membrane potential, the amplitude of the eEPSP decreased. Upon depolarization, a slight increase in amplitude and duration was observed, accompanied by a significant increase in time to peak. 4. The membrane current underlying the eEPSP (eEPSC) was measured using the single-electrode voltage-clamp method. The amplitude of the eEPSC was apparently independent of the membrane potential in 8 of 12 neurons tested. In the other 4 neurons, the amplitude of the eEPSC increased with hyperpolarization and decreased with depolarization. 5. Higher stimulus intensities evoked, in addition to the eEPSP, a delayed EPSP [late EPSP (lEPSP)] in greater than 90% of the neurons tested. The amplitude of the lEPSP ranged from 12 to 20 mV, and the latency varied between 20 and 60 ms. The amplitude of the lEPSP varied with membrane potential, decreasing with depolarization and increasing following hyperpolarization. The membrane current underlying the lEPSP (lEPSC) displayed a similar voltage dependence. 6. At stimulus intensities that led to the activation of inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (IPSPs), the lEPSP was no longer observed.