Dendritic resonance in rat neocortical pyramidal cells

J Neurophysiol. 2002 Jun;87(6):2753-9. doi: 10.1152/jn.2002.87.6.2753.


Dendritic integration of synaptic signals is likely to be an important process by which nerve cells encode synaptic input into spike output. However, the response properties of dendrites to time-varying inputs are largely unknown. Here, I determine the transfer impedance of the apical dendrite in layer V pyramidal cells by dual whole cell patch-clamp recordings in slices of rat somatosensory cortex. Sinusoidal current waveforms of linearly changing frequencies (0.1-25 Hz) were alternately injected into the soma or apical dendrite and the resulting voltage oscillations recorded by the second electrode. Dendrosomatic and somatodendritic transfer impedances were calculated by Fourier analysis. At near physiological temperatures (T approximately 35 degrees C), the transfer impedance had a maximal magnitude at low frequencies (f(res) approximately 6 Hz). In addition, voltage led current up to approximately 3 Hz, followed by a current lead over voltage at higher frequencies. Thus the transfer impedance of the apical dendrite is characterized by a low-frequency resonance. The frequency of the resonance was voltage dependent, and its strength increased with dendritic distance. The resonance was completely abolished by the I(h) channel blocker ZD 7288. Dendrosomatic and somatodendritic transfer properties of the apical dendrite were independent of direction or amplitude of the input current, and the responses of individual versus distributed inputs were additive, thus implying linearity. For just threshold current injections, action potentials were generated preferentially at the resonating frequency. I conclude that due to the interplay of a sag current (I(h)) with the membrane capacitance, layer V pyramids can act as linear band-pass filters with a frequency preference in the theta frequency band.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Dendrites / physiology*
  • Electric Impedance
  • Electrophysiology
  • Female
  • Male
  • Neocortex / cytology*
  • Neocortex / physiology
  • Periodicity
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology*
  • Pyramidal Cells / ultrastructure
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar