Spatial profile of dendritic calcium transients evoked by action potentials in rat neocortical pyramidal neurones

J Physiol. 1995 Sep 15;487 ( Pt 3)(Pt 3):583-600. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.1995.sp020902.


1. Simultaneous measurements of intracellular free calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i) and intrasomatic and intradendritic membrane potential (Vm) were performed using fura-2 fluorimetry and whole-cell recording in neocortical layer V pyramidal neurones in rat brain slices. 2. Back-propagating action potentials (APs) evoked [Ca2+]i transients in the entire neurone including the soma, the axon initial segment, the apical dendrite up to the distal tuft branches, and the oblique and basal dendrites, indicating that following suprathreshold activation the entire dendritic tree is depolarized sufficiently to open voltage-dependent calcium channels (VDCCs). 3. The [Ca2+]i transient peak evoked by APs showed large differences between various compartments of the neurone. Following a single AP, up to 6-fold differences were measured, ranging from 43 +/- 14 nM in the soma to 267 +/- 109 nM in the basal dendrites. 4. Along the main apical dendrite, the [Ca2+]i transients evoked by single APs or trains of APs had the largest amplitude and the fastest decay in the proximal region; the [Ca2+]i transient peak and decay time constant following a single AP were 128 +/- 25 nM and 420 +/- 150 ms, respectively, and following a train of five APs (at 10-12 Hz), 710 +/- 214 nM and 390 +/- 150 ms, respectively. The [Ca2+]i transients gradually decreased in amplitude and broadened in more distal portions of the apical dendrite up to the main bifurcation. 5. In the apical tuft branches, the profile of the [Ca2+]i transients was dependent on AP frequency.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / drug effects
  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Axons / drug effects
  • Axons / physiology
  • Calcium / physiology*
  • Calcium Channels / drug effects
  • Calcium Channels / physiology
  • Calibration
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology
  • Cerebral Cortex / drug effects
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Dendrites / drug effects
  • Dendrites / physiology*
  • Fluorescence
  • Fura-2
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Pyramidal Cells / drug effects
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sodium Channels / drug effects
  • Sodium Channels / physiology
  • Synapses / drug effects
  • Synapses / physiology
  • Tetrodotoxin / pharmacology


  • Calcium Channels
  • Sodium Channels
  • Tetrodotoxin
  • Calcium
  • Fura-2