Characterization of an early afterhyperpolarization after a brief train of action potentials in rat hippocampal neurons in vitro

J Neurophysiol. 1990 Jan;63(1):72-81. doi: 10.1152/jn.1990.63.1.72.


1. In rat hippocampal pyramidal cells in vitro, a brief train of action potentials elicited by direct depolarizing current pulses injected through an intracellular recording electrode is followed by a medium-duration afterhyperpolarization (mAHP) and a longer, slow AHP. We studied the mAHP with the use of current-clamp techniques in the presence of dibutyryl cyclic adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate (cAMP) to block the slow AHP and isolate the mAHP. 2. The mAHP evoked at hyperpolarized membrane potentials was complicated by a potential generated by the anomalous rectifier current, IQ. The mAHP is insensitive to chloride ions (Cl-), whereas it is sensitive to the extracellular potassium concentration ([K+]o). 3. At slightly depolarized levels, the mAHP is partially Ca2+ dependent, being enhanced by increased [Ca2+]o and BAY K 8644 and depressed by decreased [Ca2+]o, nifedipine, and Cd2+. The Ca2(+)-dependent component of the mAHP was also reduced by 100 microM tetraethylammonium (TEA) and charybdotoxin (CTX), suggesting it is mediated by the voltage- and Ca2(+)-dependent K+ current, IC. 4. Most of the Ca2(+)-independent mAHP was blocked by carbachol, implying that IM plays a major role. In a few cells, a small Ca2(+)- and carbachol-insensitive mAHP component was detectable, and this component was blocked by 10 mM TEA, suggesting it was mediated by the delayed rectifier current, IK. The K+ channel antagonist 4-aminopyridine (4-AP, 500 microM) did not reduce the mAHP. 5. We infer that the mAHP is a complex potential due either to IQ or to the combined effects of IM and IC. The contributions of each current depend on the recording conditions, with IC playing a role when the cells are activated from depolarized potentials and IM dominating at the usual resting potential. IQ is principally responsible for the mAHP recorded at hyperpolarized membrane potentials.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Hippocampus / cytology*
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Rats