Subthreshold membrane potential oscillations

Subthreshold Membrane Potential Oscillations

Subthreshold membrane potential oscillations

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Subthreshold membrane potential oscillations are rhythmic fluctuations of the voltage difference between the interior and exterior of a neuron, in the nervous system.

Neurons produce action potentials when their membrane potential increases past a critical threshold. If the voltage is below the threshold the neuron does not fire, but the membrane potential still fluctuates due to postsynaptic potentials and intrinsic electrical properties of neurons. In some type of neurons, the membrane potential can oscillate at specific frequencies. Although subthreshold oscillations do not directly result in neuronal firing, they may facilitate synchronous activity of neighboring neurons. It may also facilitate computation, particularly processing of sensory signals


Neurons display, beyond synaptic and action potentials, rhythmic subthreshold membrane potential oscillations (a particular type of neural oscillations). These oscillations, which resembled sinusoidal wave forms were originally discovered in the mammalian inferior olive nucleus cells. The functional relevance of subthreshold oscillations concerns the nature of the intrinsic electrical properties of neurons, that is, the electrical responsiveness not derived from interactions with other cells. These properties...
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