Influence of the dentritic morphology on electrophysiological responses of thalamocortical neurons

Authors: Zomorrodi Moghaddam, Reza
Advisor: Kröger, HelmutTimofeev, Igor
Abstract: Thalamic relay neurons have an exclusive role in processing and transferring nearly all sensory information into the cortex. The synaptic integration and the electrophysiological response of thalamic relay neurons are determined not only by a state of the involved network, but they are also controlled by their intrinsic properties; such as diverse voltage-dependent ionic channels as well as by elaborated dendritic arborization. Therefore, investigating the complex pattern of dendritic morphology and dendritic active properties reveals important information on the input-output function of thalamic relay neurons. In this study, we reconstructed eight thalamocortical (TC) neurons from the VPL nucleus of adult cats. Based on these complete morphological data, we developed several multi-compartment models in order to find a potentially important role for dendritic trees of TC neurons in the synaptic integration and neuronal computation. The analysis of morphological features of TC neurons yield precise values of geometrical parameters either similar or different from those previously reported. In addition, this analysis extracted new information regarding the pattern of connectivity between dendritic sections such as asymmetry index and mean path length (i.e., topological parameters). We confirmed the same range of previously reported value for several geometric parameters such as the somatic area (2956.24±918.89 m2), the total dendritic length (168017.49±4364.64 m) and the number of subtrees (8.3±1.5) for eight TC neurons. However, contrary to previously reported data, the dendritic branching pattern (with 98% bifurcation cases) does not follow Rall’s 3/2 power rule for the geometrical ratio (GR), and the average GR value for a forward propagation signal was 2.5 times bigger than for a backward propagating signal. We also demonstrated a significant variability in the symmetry index between subtrees of TC neurons, but the mean path length did not show a large variation through the dendritic arborizations of different neurons. We examined the consequence of non-uniform distribution of T-channels along the dendritic tree on the prominent electrophysiological response, the low-threshold Ca2+ spike (LTS) of TC neurons. By applying the hypothesis of “minimizing metabolic cost”, we found that the modeled neuron needed a minimum number of T-channels to generate low-threshold Ca2+ spike (LTS), when T-channels were located in proximal dendrites. In the next study, our computational model illustrated the extent of an action potential back propagation and the efficacy of forward propagation of EPSPs arriving at the distal dendritic branches. We demonstrated that dendritic propagation of electrical signals is strongly controlled by morphological parameters as shown by different levels of polarization achieved by a neuron at equidistance from the soma during back and forward propagation of electrical signals. Our results revealed that geometrical properties (i.e. diameter, GR) have a stronger impact on the electrical signal propagation than topological properties. We conclude that (1) diversity in the morphological properties between subtrees of a single TC neuron lead to a specific ability for synaptic integration and neuronal computation of different dendrites, (2) geometrical parameter of a dendritic tree provide higher influence on the control of synaptic efficacy and the extent of the back propagating action potential than topological properties, (3) TC neurons follow the optimized principle for distribution of voltage-dependent conductance on dendritic trees.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2011
Open Access Date: 18 April 2018
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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