Interlaminar differences of intrinsic properties of pyramidal neurons in the auditory cortex of mice

Cereb Cortex. 2009 May;19(5):1008-18. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhn143. Epub 2008 Sep 4.


Cortical information processing depends crucially upon intrinsic neuronal properties modulating a given synaptic input, in addition to integration of excitatory and inhibitory inputs. These intrinsic mechanisms are poorly understood in sensory cortex areas. We therefore investigated neuronal properties in slices of the auditory cortex (AC) of normal hearing mice using whole-cell patch-clamp recordings of pyramidal neurons in layers II/III, IV, V, and VI in the current- and voltage clamp mode. A total of 234 pyramidal neurons were included in the analysis revealing distinct laminar differences. Regular spiking (RS) neurons in layer II/III have significantly lower resting membrane potential, higher threshold for action potential generation, and larger K(ir) and Ih amplitudes compared with layer V and VI RS neurons. These currents could improve temporal resolution in the upper layers of the AC. Additionally, the presence of a T-type Ca2+ current could be an important factor of RS neurons in these upper layers to amplify temporally closely correlated inputs. Compared with upper layers, lower layers (V and VI) exhibit a higher relative abundance of intrinsic bursting neurons. These neurons may provide layer-specific transfer functions for interlaminar, intercortical, and corticofugal information processing.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Auditory Cortex / cytology*
  • Auditory Cortex / physiology*
  • Calcium Channels, T-Type / physiology
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Neural Pathways / cytology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Potassium Channels / physiology
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology*
  • Synapses / physiology


  • Calcium Channels, T-Type
  • Potassium Channels