Changes in membrane currents during Pavlovian conditioning of single cortical neurons

Brain Res. 1991 Jan 18;539(1):76-84. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(91)90688-r.


Single electrode voltage clamp recordings were made during Pavlovian conditioning of single units of the motor cortex of cats. Units that developed a conditioned spike discharge in response to a click conditioned stimulus (CS) after pairing the click with glabella tap and local ionophoretic application of glutamate showed increases in input resistance and reductions of an early outward current induced by depolarizing commands and by return to holding potentials after hyperpolarizing commands. Changes in later currents were also found in some cells. Units that failed to develop a conditioned response did not show these changes. The decreases in membrane currents could contribute to an increased spike discharge in response to the CS as could the increased input resistance observed after conditioning. Conductance changes of this type may serve as engrams by which some forms of memory and learning are expressed across both vertebrate and invertebrate species.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Action Potentials
  • Anesthetics, Local / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Conditioning, Classical / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials / drug effects
  • Lidocaine / analogs & derivatives
  • Lidocaine / pharmacology
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Sodium Glutamate / pharmacology


  • Anesthetics, Local
  • QX-314
  • Lidocaine
  • Sodium Glutamate