The patients suffering from acidosis usually sign psychological deficits. The cerebral dysfunction is reportedly caused by an acid-induced functional impairment of GABAergic neurons; however, the role of pyramidal neurons in this process remains unclear. By using electrophysiological method and changing extracellular pH, we investigated the influence of acidic environment on pyramidal neurons in the cortical slices, such as their ability of firing spikes and response to synaptic inputs. A low pH of artificial cerebral spinal fluid elevates the responses of pyramidal neurons to excitatory synaptic inputs and their ability of encoding digital spikes, as well as reduces the signal transmission at GABAergic synapses. The elevated ability of neuronal spiking is associated with the decreases of refractory periods and threshold potentials. Therefore, acidosis deteriorates brain functions through making the activities between cortical pyramidal neurons and GABAergic neurons imbalanced toward the overexcitation of neural networks, a process similar to neural excitotoxicity.
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