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Calcium-activated SK channels control firing regularity by modulating sodium channel availability in midbrain dopamine neurons

Iyer, R; Ungless, MA; Faisal, AA; (2017) Calcium-activated SK channels control firing regularity by modulating sodium channel availability in midbrain dopamine neurons. Scientific Reports , 7 , Article 5248. 10.1038/s41598-017-05578-5. Green open access

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Abstract

Dopamine neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta and ventral tegmental area regulate behaviours such as reward-related learning, and motor control. Dysfunction of these neurons is implicated in Schizophrenia, addiction to drugs, and Parkinson’s disease. While some dopamine neurons fire single spikes at regular intervals, others fire irregular single spikes interspersed with bursts. Pharmacological inhibition of calcium-activated potassium (SK) channels increases the variability in their firing pattern, sometimes also increasing the number of spikes fired in bursts, indicating that SK channels play an important role in maintaining dopamine neuron firing regularity and burst firing. However, the exact mechanisms underlying these effects are still unclear. Here, we develop a biophysical model of a dopamine neuron incorporating ion channel stochasticity that enabled the analysis of availability of ion channels in multiple states during spiking. We find that decreased firing regularity is primarily due to a significant decrease in the AHP that in turn resulted in a reduction in the fraction of available voltage-gated sodium channels due to insufficient recovery from inactivation. Our model further predicts that inhibition of SK channels results in a depolarisation of action potential threshold along with an increase in its variability.

Type: Article
Title: Calcium-activated SK channels control firing regularity by modulating sodium channel availability in midbrain dopamine neurons
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-05578-5
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-05578-5
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author(s) 2017. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Neuro, Physiology and Pharmacology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1574466
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