Paired pulse facilitation of corticogeniculate EPSCs in the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus of the rat investigated in vitro

J Physiol. 2002 Oct 15;544(2):477-86. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2002.024703.


To investigate paired pulse facilitation of corticogeniculate EPSCs, whole-cell patch-clamp recordings were made from principal cells in the rat dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (dLGN) in vitro. Thalamic slices, oriented so that both corticogeniculate and retinogeniculate axons could be stimulated, were cut from young (16- to 37-day-old) DA-HAN rats. Corticogeniculate EPSCs displayed pronounced paired pulse facilitation at stimulus intervals up to 400 ms. The facilitation had a fast and a slow component of decay with time constants of 12 +/- 7 and 164 +/- 47 ms (means +/- S.D.), respectively. Maximum paired pulse ratio (EPSC(2) x EPSC(1)(-1)) was 3.7 +/- 1.1 at the 20-30 ms interval. Similar to other systems, the facilitation was presynaptic. Retinogeniculate EPSCs recorded in the same dLGN cells displayed paired pulse depression at intervals up to at least 700 ms. The two types of EPSCs differed in their calcium response curves. At normal [Ca(2+)](o), the corticogeniculate synapse functioned over the early rising part of a Hill function, while the retinogeniculate synapse operated over the middle and upper parts of the curve. The paired pulse ratio of corticogeniculate EPSCs was maximal at physiological [Ca(2+)](o). The facilitation is proposed to have an important role in the function of the corticogeniculate circuit as a neuronal amplifier.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Electric Stimulation / methods
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials
  • Extracellular Space / metabolism
  • Geniculate Bodies / physiology*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Nerve Fibers / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Rats
  • Retina / physiology
  • Synapses / physiology
  • Time Factors


  • Calcium