GABAergic synaptic transmission triggers action potentials in thalamic reticular nucleus neurons. Academic Article uri icon


  • GABAergic neurons in the thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN) form powerful inhibitory connections with several dorsal thalamic nuclei, thereby controlling attention, sensory processing, and synchronous oscillations in the thalamocortical system. TRN neurons are interconnected by a network of GABAergic synapses, but their properties and their role in shaping TRN neuronal activity are not well understood. Using recording techniques aimed to minimize changes in the intracellular milieu, we show that synaptic GABA(A) receptor activation triggers postsynaptic depolarizations in mouse TRN neurons. Immunohistochemical data indicate that TRN neurons express very low levels of the Cl(-) transporter KCC2. In agreement, perforated-patch recordings show that intracellular Cl(-) levels are high in TRN neurons, resulting in a Cl(-) reversal potential (E(Cl)) significantly depolarized from rest. Additionally, we find that GABA(A) receptor-evoked depolarizations are amplified by the activation of postsynaptic T-type Ca(2+) channels, leading to dendritic Ca(2+) increases and the generation of burst firing in TRN neurons. In turn, GABA-evoked burst firing results in delayed and long-lasting feedforward inhibition in thalamic relay cells. Our results show that GABA-evoked depolarizations can interact with T-type Ca(2+) channels to powerfully control spike generation in TRN neurons.

published proceedings

  • J Neurosci

altmetric score

  • 1.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Sun, Y., Wu, C., Renger, J. J., Uebele, V. N., Lu, H., & Beierlein, M.

citation count

  • 36

complete list of authors

  • Sun, Yan-Gang||Wu, Chia-Shan||Renger, John J||Uebele, Victor N||Lu, Hui-Chen||Beierlein, Michael

publication date

  • June 2012