Membrane and firing properties of avian medial vestibular nucleus neurons in vitro.
The intrinsic membrane and firing properties of medial vestibular nucleus (MVN) neurons were investigated in slices of the chick brainstem using intracellular recording and current injection. Avian MVN neurons fired spontaneous action potentials with very regular interspike intervals. The rapid repolarization of all action potentials was followed by an after-hyperpolarization. Intracellular injection of steps of hyperpolarizing current revealed both an inward rectification of the membrane potential during the step and a rebound depolarization following the offset of the step. In some neurons, the rebound depolarization resulted in bursts of action potentials. Steps of depolarizing current applied to spontaneously active neurons evoked increases in firing rate that were higher at the onset of the step than during the steady-state response. The relationship between current and firing rate was linear. The membrane and firing properties of avian MVN neurons were distributed continuously across the population of recorded neurons. These properties appear identical to those of rodent MVN neurons, suggesting that the composition and distribution of ion channels in the MVN neuronal membrane has been highly conserved across vertebrate species.
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