Spiking-bursting activity in the thalamic reticular nucleus initiates sequences of spindle oscillations in thalamic networks

J Neurophysiol. 2000 Aug;84(2):1076-87. doi: 10.1152/jn.2000.84.2.1076.


Recent intracellular and local field potential recordings from thalamic reticular (RE) neurons in vivo as well as computational modeling of the isolated RE nucleus suggest that, at relatively hyperpolarized levels of membrane potentials, the inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (IPSPs) between RE cells can be reversed and gamma-aminobutyric acid-A (GABA(A)) -mediated depolarization can generate persistent spatio-temporal patterns in the RE nucleus. Here we investigate how this activity affects the spatio-temporal properties of spindle oscillations with computer models of interacting RE and thalamocortical (TC) cells. In a one-dimensional network of RE and TC cells, sequences of spindle oscillations alternated with localized patterns of spike-burst activity propagating inside the RE network. New sequences of spindle oscillations were initiated after removal of I(h)-mediated depolarization of the TC cells. The length of the interspindle lulls depended on the intrinsic and synaptic properties of RE and TC cells and was in the range of 3-20 s. In a two-dimensional model, GABA(A)-mediated 2-3 Hz oscillations persisted in the RE nucleus during interspindle lulls and initiated spindle sequences at many foci within the RE-TC network simultaneously. This model predicts that the intrinsic properties of the reticular thalamus may contribute to the synchrony of spindle oscillations observed in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Calcium Channels / physiology
  • Cats
  • Cerebral Decortication
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / cytology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Periodicity*
  • Receptors, AMPA / physiology
  • Receptors, GABA-A / physiology
  • Synapses / chemistry
  • Synapses / physiology
  • Thalamic Nuclei / physiology*


  • Calcium Channels
  • Receptors, AMPA
  • Receptors, GABA-A