Dendritic voltage‐gated K+ conductance gradient in pyramidal neurones of neocortical layer 5B from rats

Andreas T Schaefer, Moritz Helmstaedter, Arno C. Schmitt, Dan Bar‐Yehuda, Mara Almog, Hana Ben‐Porat, Bert Sakmann, Alon Korngreen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Voltage-gated potassium channels effectively regulate dendritic excitability in neurones. It has been suggested that in the distal apical dendrite of layer 5B (L5B) neocortical pyramidal neurones, K+ conductances participate in active dendritic synaptic integration and control regenerative dendritic potentials. The ionic mechanism for triggering these regenerative potentials has yet to be elucidated. Here we used two-electrode voltage clamp (TEVC) to quantitatively record K+ conductance densities of a sustained K+ conductance in the soma and apical dendrite of L5B neurones of adult rats. We report that the somatic and proximal dendritic sustained voltage-gated K+ conductance density is more than 10-fold larger than previous estimates. The results obtained using TEVC were corroborated using current-clamp experiments in combination with compartmental modelling. Possible error sources, including inaccurate measurement of the passive membrane parameters and unknown axonal and basal dendritic conductance distributions, were shown not to distort the density estimation considerably. The sustained voltage-gated K+ conductance density was found to decrease steeply along the apical dendrite. The steep negative K+ conductance density gradient along the apical dendrite may help to define a distal, low-threshold region for amplification of distal synaptic input in L5B pyramidal neurones.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)737-752
JournalThe Journal of Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2007


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