Neurons within the same network independently achieve conserved output by differentially balancing variable conductance magnitudes

Joseph L. Ransdel, Satish S. Nair, David J. Schulz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

Biological and theoretical evidence suggest that individual neurons may achieve similar outputs by differentially balancing variable underlying ionic conductances. Despite the substantial amount of data consistent with this idea, a direct biological demonstration that cells with conserved output, particularly within the same network, achieve these outputs via different solutions has been difficult to achieve. Here we demonstrate definitively that neurons from native neural networks with highly similar output achieve this conserved output by differentially tuning underlying conductance magnitudes. Multiple motor neurons of the crab (Cancer borealis) cardiac ganglion have highly conserved output within a preparation, despite showing a 2-4-fold range of conductance magnitudes. By blocking subsets of these currents, we demonstrate that the remaining conductances become unbalanced, causing disparate output as a result. Therefore, as strategies to understand neuronal excitability become increasingly sophisticated, it is important that such variability in excitability of neurons, even among those within the same individual, is taken into account.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9950-9956
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume33
Issue number24
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

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