Neural circuits are composed of diverse cell types, the firing properties of which reflect their intrinsic ionic currents. GABAergic and non-GABAergic neurons in the medial vestibular nuclei, identified in GIN and YFP-16 lines of transgenic mice, respectively, exhibit different firing properties in brain slices. The intrinsic ionic currents of these cell types were investigated in acutely dissociated neurons from 3- to 4-wk-old mice, where differences in spontaneous firing and action potential parameters observed in slice preparations are preserved. Both GIN and YFP-16 neurons express a combination of four major outward currents: Ca2+-dependent K+ currents (IKCa), 1 mM TEA-sensitive delayed rectifier K+ currents (I1TEA), 10 mM TEA-sensitive delayed rectifier K+ currents (I10TEA), and A-type K+ currents (IA). The balance of these currents varied across cells, with GIN neurons tending to express proportionately more IKCa and IA, and YFP-16 neurons tending to express proportionately more I1TEA and I 10TEA. Correlations in charge densities suggested that several currents were coregulated. Variations in the kinetics and density of I 1TEA could account for differences in repolarization rates observed both within and between cell types. These data indicate that diversity in the firing properties of GABAergic and non-GABAergic vestibular nucleus neurons arises from graded differences in the balance and kinetics of ionic currents.
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