Despite the importance and significant clinical impact of understanding information processing in the nociceptive system, the functional properties of neurons in many parts of this system are still unknown. In this work we performed whole-cell patch-clamp recording in rat brainstem blocks to characterize the electrophysiological properties of neurons in the dorsal reticular nucleus (DRt), a region known to be involved in pronociceptive modulation. We also compared properties of DRt neurons with those in the adjacent parvicellular reticular nucleus (PCRt) and in neighboring regions outside the reticular formation. We found that neurons in the DRt and PCRt had similar electrophysiological properties and exhibited mostly tonic-like firing patterns, whereas neurons outside the reticular formation showed a larger diversity of firing-patterns. The dominance of tonic neurons in the DRt supports previous conclusions that these neurons encode stimulus intensity through their firing frequency.
Model Type: Neuron or other electrically excitable cell
Cell Type(s): Hodgkin-Huxley neuron
Currents: I Na,t; I K; I K,Ca; I Calcium
Model Concept(s): Activity Patterns
Simulation Environment: NEURON
Implementer(s): Aguiar, Paulo [pauloaguiar at fc.up.pt]
Sousa M, Szucs P, Lima D, Aguiar P. (2014). The pronociceptive dorsal reticular nucleus contains mostly tonic neurons and shows a high prevalence of spontaneous activity in block preparation. Journal of neurophysiology 111 [PubMed]