Abstract

In the cerebral cortex, neurons can be classified into 2 broad morphological classes, referred to as pyramidal and nonpyramidal (stellate) cells, which correspond to functional classes of projection neurons and local circuit interneurons, respectively. In this study, we demonstrate that specific morphological, immunohistochemical, and physiological features, that allow class dis tinction of neurons in situ, are retained in acutely isolated neocortical neurons. Furthermore, voltage-clamp analysis with patch-clamp techniques indicate the differences in functional properties in adult neurons, reflect cell-specific, developmental changes in the density and type of specific classes of Na+ K+ and Ca2+ channels expressed. The differences in channel properties contribute to the different input-output relations of neocortical neurons, which enable inhibitory neurons to follow excitatory inputs faithfully and projection neurons to have more integrative roles.

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