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Ephaptic coupling of cortical neurons

Anastassiou, Costas A. and Perin, Rodrigo and Markram, Henry and Koch, Christof (2011) Ephaptic coupling of cortical neurons. Nature Neuroscience, 14 (2). pp. 217-223. ISSN 1097-6256. doi:10.1038/nn.2727.

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The electrochemical processes that underlie neural function manifest themselves in ceaseless spatiotemporal field fluctuations. However, extracellular fields feed back onto the electric potential across the neuronal membrane via ephaptic coupling, independent of synapses. The extent to which such ephaptic coupling alters the functioning of neurons under physiological conditions remains unclear. To address this question, we stimulated and recorded from rat cortical pyramidal neurons in slices with a 12-electrode setup. We found that extracellular fields induced ephaptically mediated changes in the somatic membrane potential that were less than 0.5 mV under subthreshold conditions. Despite their small size, these fields could strongly entrain action potentials, particularly for slow (<8 Hz) fluctuations of the extracellular field. Finally, we simultaneously measured from up to four patched neurons located proximally to each other. Our findings indicate that endogenous brain activity can causally affect neural function through field effects under physiological conditions.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription DOIArticle
Anastassiou, Costas A.0000-0002-6793-0611
Koch, Christof0000-0001-6482-8067
Additional Information:© 2011 Nature Publishing Group. Received 6 October 2010; accepted 30 November 2010; published online 16 January 2011. We thank G. Buzsáki, U. Rutishauser and E. Schomburg for comments and discussions and J. Bastiaansen for assistance. This work was funded by the Engineering Physical Sciences Research Council (C.A.A.), the Sloan-Swartz Foundation (C.A.A.), the Swiss National Science Foundation (C.A.A.), EU Synapse (R.P.), the National Science Foundation (C.K. and C.A.A.), the Mathers Foundation (C.K. and C.A.A.) and the World Class University program through the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (R31-10008, C.K.). Author Contributions: C.A.A. and C.K. designed the experiments. C.A.A. and R.P. performed the experiments. C.A.A. wrote the codes and analyzed the data. C.A.A., R.P., H.M. and C.K. wrote the manuscript.
Group:Koch Laboratory (KLAB)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Engineering Physical Sciences Research CouncilUNSPECIFIED
Sloan-Swartz FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Swiss National Science FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Mathers FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (Korea)R31-10008
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20110228-102153990
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:22543
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:03 Mar 2011 19:38
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 16:05

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