Published on Mon Sep 06 2021

Development of spontaneous firing of fusiform neurons from the dorsal cochlear nucleus of mice occurs after hearing onset.

Benites, N. M., Rodrigues, B., da Siveira, C. H., Leao, R. M.

The dorsal cochlear nucleus (DCN) in the auditory brainstem integrates auditory and somatosensory information. Mature fusiform neurons express two qualitative intrinsic states in equal proportions: quiet, with no spontaneous regular action potential firing, or active. How these firing states and other elect

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Abstract

The dorsal cochlear nucleus (DCN) in the auditory brainstem integrates auditory and somatosensory information. Mature fusiform neurons express two qualitative intrinsic states in equal proportions: quiet, with no spontaneous regular action potential firing, or active, with regular spontaneous action potential firing. However, how these firing states and other electrophysiological properties of fusiform neurons develop during early postnatal days to adulthood is not known. Thus, we recorded fusiform neurons from mice from P4 to P21 and analyzed their electrophysiological properties. In the pre-hearing phase (P4-P13), we found that fusiform neurons are mostly quiet, with the active state emerging after hearing onset at P14. Subthreshold properties present more variations before hearing onset, while action potential properties vary more after P14, developing bigger, shorter, and faster action potentials. Interestingly, the activity threshold is more depolarized in pre-hearing cells suggesting that persistent sodium current (INaP) increases its expression after hearing. In fact, INaP increases its expression after hearing, accordingly with the development of active neurons. Thus, we suggest that the post-hearing expression of INaP creates the active state of the fusiform neuron. At the same time, other changes refine the passive membrane properties and increase the speed of action potential firing of fusiform neurons.