Adult-like action potential properties and abundant GABAergic synaptic responses in amygdala neurons from newborn marmosets

J Physiol. 2012 Nov 15;590(22):5691-706. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2012.235010. Epub 2012 Sep 10.


The amygdala plays an important role in the processing of emotional events. This information processing is altered by development, but little is known about the development of electrophysiological properties of neurons in the amygdala. We studied the postnatal development of electrophysiological properties of neurons in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) of the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus). Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings were obtained from BLA pyramidal neurons in brain slices prepared from developing and adult marmosets, and electrophysiological properties known to change during development in rats were analysed. Two passive electrical properties of the neuronal membrane - the input resistance (R(in)) and the membrane time constant () - significantly decreased with postnatal development. In contrast, the action potential only showed a slight decrease in duration during the first month of life, whereas the amplitude did not change after birth. Passive electrical properties and action potentials in neurons of 4-week-old marmosets were similar to those in neurons of 4-year-old marmosets. The development of the action potential duration was not correlated with the development of R(in) or , whereas the development of R(in) and was correlated with each other. Abundant spontaneous and noradrenaline-induced GABAergic currents were present immediately after birth and did not change during postnatal development. These results suggest that newborn infant marmoset BLA pyramidal neurons possess relatively mature action potentials and receive vigorous GABAergic synaptic inputs, and that they acquire adult-like electrophysiological properties by the fourth week of life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials*
  • Amygdala / growth & development
  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Callithrix
  • Female
  • GABAergic Neurons / physiology*
  • Male
  • Potassium / metabolism
  • Potassium Channel Blockers / pharmacology
  • Pyramidal Cells / growth & development
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology*
  • Synaptic Potentials*


  • Potassium Channel Blockers
  • Potassium