Temperature effects on synaptic transmission and neuronal function in the visual thalamus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Numerous neuronal properties including the synaptic vesicle release process, neurotransmitter receptor complement, and postsynaptic ion channels are involved in transforming synaptic inputs into postsynaptic spiking. Temperature is a significant influencer of neuronal function and synaptic integration. Changing temperature can affect neuronal physiology in a diversity of ways depending on how it affects different members of the cell’s ion channel complement. Temperature’s effects on neuronal function are critical for pathological states such as fever, which can trigger seizure activity, but are also important in interpreting and comparing results of experiments conducted at room vs physiological temperature. The goal of this study was to examine the influence of temperature on synaptic properties and ion channel function in thalamocortical (TC) relay neurons in acute brain slices of the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus, a key synaptic target of retinal ganglion cells in the thalamus. Warming the superfusate in patch clamp experiments with acutely-prepared brain slices led to an overall inhibition of synaptically-driven spiking behavior in TC neurons in response to a retinal ganglion cell spike train. Further study revealed that this was associated with an increase in presynaptic synaptic vesicle release probability and synaptic depression and altered passive and active membrane properties. Additionally, warming the superfusate triggered activation of an inwardly rectifying potassium current and altered the voltage-dependence of voltage-gated Na+ currents and T-type calcium currents. This study highlights the importance of careful temperature control in ex vivo physiological experiments and illustrates how numerous properties such as synaptic inputs, active conductances, and passive membrane properties converge to determine spike output.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0232451
JournalPloS one
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Temperature effects on synaptic transmission and neuronal function in the visual thalamus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this