The thalamus is a brain structure known to modulate sensory information before relaying to the cortex. The unique ability of a thalamocortical (TC) neuron to switch between the high frequency burst firing and single spike tonic firing has been implicated to have a key role in sensory modulation including pain. Of the two firing modes, burst firing, especially maintaining certain burst firing properties, was suggested to be critical in controlling nociceptive behaviors. Therefore, understanding the factors that influence burst firing properties would offer important insight into understanding sensory modulation. Using computational modeling, we investigated how the balance of excitatory and inhibitory inputs into a TC neuron influence TC bursting properties. We found that intensity of inhibitory inputs and the timing of excitatory input delivery control the dynamics of bursting properties. Then, to reflect a more realistic model, excitatory inputs delivered at different dendritic locations-proximal, intermediate, or distal-of a TC neuron were also investigated. Interestingly, excitatory input delivered into a distal dendrite, despite the furthest distance, had the strongest influence in shaping burst firing properties, suggesting that not all inputs equally contribute to modulating TC bursting properties. Overall, the results provide computational insights in understanding the detailed mechanism of the factors influencing temporal pattern of thalamic bursts.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was funded by the Ministry of Science ICT through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grants: Brain Science Research Program (NRF-2015M3C7A1028392, NRF-2016M3C7A1904986, NRF-2018M3C7A1024736) and NRF-2018R1C1B6002210.
Copyright © Experimental Neurobiology 2019.
- Computational biology
- Sensory gating
- T-Type Calcium Channels