Excitatory and inhibitory effects of HCN channel modulation on excitability of layer V pyramidal cells

Tuomo Mäki-Marttunen, Verónica Mäki-Marttunen

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    Dendrites of cortical pyramidal cells are densely populated by hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) channels, a.k.a. Ih channels. Ih channels are targeted by multiple neuromodulatory pathways, and thus are one of the key ion-channel populations regulating the pyramidal cell activity. Previous observations and theories attribute opposing effects of the Ih channels on neuronal excitability due to their mildly hyperpolarized reversal potential. These effects are difficult to measure experimentally due to the fine spatiotemporal landscape of the Ih activity in the dendrites, but computational models provide an efficient tool for studying this question in a reduced but generalizable setting. In this work, we build upon existing biophysically detailed models of thick-tufted layer V pyramidal cells and model the effects of over- and under-expression of Ih channels as well as their neuromodulation. We show that Ih channels facilitate the action potentials of layer V pyramidal cells in response to proximal dendritic stimulus while they hinder the action potentials in response to distal dendritic stimulus at the apical dendrite. We also show that the inhibitory action of the Ih channels in layer V pyramidal cells is due to the interactions between Ih channels and a hot zone of low voltage-activated Ca2+ channels at the apical dendrite. Our simulations suggest that a combination of Ih-enhancing neuromodulation at the proximal part of the apical dendrite and Ih-inhibiting modulation at the distal part of the apical dendrite can increase the layer V pyramidal excitability more than either of the two alone. Our analyses uncover the effects of Ih-channel neuromodulation of layer V pyramidal cells at a single-cell level and shed light on how these neurons integrate information and enable higher-order functions of the brain.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere1010506
    Number of pages35
    JournalPLoS Computational Biology
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022
    Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Publication forum classification

    • Publication forum level 2

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
    • Modelling and Simulation
    • Ecology
    • Molecular Biology
    • Genetics
    • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
    • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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