- Intrinsic response properties of auditory thalamic neurons in the Gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus) (2007)
- Neurons in the medial geniculate body (MGB) have the complex task of processing the auditory ascending information from the periphery and a more extensive descending input from the cortex. Differences in the pattern of afferent and efferent neuronal connections suggest that neurons in the ventral and dorsal divisions of the MGB take different roles in this complex task. The ventral MGB (vMGB) is the primary, tonotopic, division and the dorsal MGB (dMGB) is one of the higher order, nontonotopic divisions. The vMGB neurons are arranged tonotopically, have sharp tuning properties, and a short response delay to acoustic stimuli. The dMGB neurons are not tonotopically arranged, have broad tuning properties, and a long response delay to acoustical stimuli. These two populations of neurons, with inherently different tasks, may display differences in intrinsic physiological properties, e.g. the capacity to integrate information on a single cell level. Neurons of the ventral and dorsal divisions of the MGB offer an ideal system to explore and compare the intrinsic neuronal properties related to auditory processing. Coronal slices of 200 μm thicknesses were prepared from the thalamus of 4 - 5 week old gerbils. The current-clamp configuration of the patch-clamp technique was used to do experiments on the dorsal and ventral divisions of the medial geniculate body. Slices were subsequently Nissl stained to verify the location of recording. Recordings from the dorsal and ventral divisions exhibited differences in response to depolarizing current injections. The ventral division responded with significantly shorter first spike latency (vMGB = 41.50 ± 7.7, dMGB = 128.43 ± 16.28; (p < 0.01)) and rise time constant (vMGB = 6.95 ± 0.90, dMGB = 116.67 ± 0.13; (p < 0.01)) than the dMGB. Neurons in the dorsal division possessed a larger proportion of slowly accommodating neurons (rapidly accommodating: vMGB: 89%, dMGB: 64%), including a subpopulation of neurons that fired at resting membrane potential. Neurons in the vMGB are primarily responsible for relaying primary auditory input. Dorsal MGB neurons relay converging multimodal input. A comparative analysis with the primary auditory neurons, the Type I and Type II spiral ganglion neurons, reveals a similar pattern. Type I neurons relay primary auditory input and exhibit short first spike latencies and rise time constants. The Type II neurons relay converging input from many sources, while possessing significantly slower response properties and a greater subpopulation of slowly accommodating neurons. Hence, accommodation, first spike latency, and rise time constant are suggested to be a reflection of the amount of input that must be integrated before an action potential can be fired. More converging input correlates to slower accommodation, a longer first spike latency and rise time. Conversely, a greater capacity to derive discrete input is associated with rapid accommodation, along with a short first spike latency and rise time.