Control of spontaneous firing patterns by the selective coupling of calcium currents to calcium-activated potassium currents in striatal cholinergic interneurons

Goldberg, J.A.; Wilson, C.J.

Journal of Neuroscience the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 25(44): 10230-10238

2005


ISSN/ISBN: 1529-2401
PMID: 16267230
DOI: 10.1523/jneurosci.2734-05.2005
Accession: 011901529

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Abstract
The spontaneous firing patterns of striatal cholinergic interneurons are sculpted by potassium currents that give rise to prominent afterhyperpolarizations (AHPs). Large-conductance calcium-activated potassium (BK) channel currents contribute to action potential (AP) repolarization; small-conductance calcium-activated potassium channel currents generate an apamin-sensitive medium AHP (mAHP) after each AP; and bursts of APs generate long-lasting slow AHPs (sAHPs) attributable to apamin-insensitive currents. Because all these currents are calcium dependent, we conducted voltage- and current-clamp whole-cell recordings while pharmacologically manipulating calcium channels of the plasma membrane and intracellular stores to determine what sources of calcium activate the currents underlying AP repolarization and the AHPs. The Cav2.2 (N-type) blocker omega-conotoxin GVIA (1 microM) was the only blocker that significantly reduced the mAHP, and it induced a transition to rhythmic bursting in one-third of the cells tested. Cav1 (L-type) blockers (10 microM dihydropyridines) were the only ones that significantly reduced the sAHP. When applied to cells induced to burst with apamin, dihydropyridines reduced the sAHPs and abolished bursting. Depletion of intracellular stores with 10 mM caffeine also significantly reduced the sAHP current and reversibly regularized firing. Application of 1 microM omega-conotoxin MVIIC (a Cav2.1/2.2 blocker) broadened APs but had a negligible effect on APs in cells in which BK channels were already blocked by submillimolar tetraethylammonium chloride, indicating that Cav2.1 (Q-type) channels provide the calcium to activate BK channels that repolarize the AP. Thus, calcium currents are selectively coupled to the calcium-dependent potassium currents underlying the AHPs, thereby creating mechanisms for control of the spontaneous firing patterns of these neurons.