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Analysis of morphological features of thalamocortical neurons from the ventroposterolateral nucleus of the cat.

Publication Type:

Journal Article

Source:

J Comp Neurol, Volume 518, Issue 17, p.3541-56 (2010)

Keywords:

Animals, Cats, Cell Shape, Cerebral Cortex, Electrophysiology, Membrane Potentials, Neural Pathways, Neurons, Staining and Labeling, Thalamus

Abstract:

<p>Morphological features of the dendritic arborization can affect neuronal responses and thus the input-output function of a particular neuron. In this study, morphological data of eight fully reconstructed thalamocortical (TC) neurons from the ventroposterolateral (VPL) nucleus of adult cats have been analyzed. We examined several geometrical and topological parameters, which have been previously shown to have a high impact on the neuron firing pattern and propagation of signals in the dendritic tree. In addition to well-known morphological parameters such as number of dendritic trees (8.3 +/- 1.5) and number of branching points (80-120), we investigated the distribution of dendritic membrane area, branching points, geometrical ratio, asymmetry index, and mean path length for all subtrees of the TC neurons. We demonstrate that due to extensive branching in proximal and middle dendritic sections, the maximum value of the dendritic area distribution is reached at 120-160 mum from the soma. Our analysis reveals that TC neurons are highly branched cells and their dendritic branching pattern does not follow Rall's 3/2 power rule; average values at proximal vs. distal dendritic sections were different. We also found that the dendritic branching pattern of each subtree of the cell had a wide range in symmetry index, whereas the mean path length did not show a large variation through the dendritic arborizations.</p>

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