During slow-wave sleep, neurons of the thalamocortical network are engaged in a slow oscillation (<1 Hz), which consists of an alternation between the active and the silent states. Several studies have provided insights on the transition from the silent, which are essentially periods of disfacilitation, to the active states. However, the conditions leading to the synchronous onset of the silent state remain elusive. We hypothesized that a synchronous input to local inhibitory neurons could contribute to the transition to the silent state in the cat suprasylvian gyrus during natural sleep and under ketamine-xylazine anesthesia. After partial and complete deafferentation of the cortex, we found that the silent state onset was more variable among remote sites. We found that the transition to the silent state was preceded by a reduction in excitatory postsynaptic potentials and firing probability in cortical neurons. We tested the impact of chloride-mediated inhibition in the silent state onset. We uncovered a long duration (100-300 ms) inhibitory barrage occurring about 250 ms prior to the silent state onset in 3-6% of neurons during anesthesia and in 12-15% of cases during natural sleep. This inhibitory activities caused a decrease in cortical firing that reduced the excitatory drive in the neocortical network. That chain reaction of disfacilitation ends up on the silent state. Electrical stimuli could trigger a network silent state with a maximal efficacy in deep cortical layers. We conclude that long-range afferents to the neocortex and chloride-mediated inhibition plays a role in the initiation of the silent state.
- Slow oscillation
- thalamocortical afferents
- chloride-mediated inhibition
- intracellular recordings
- Copyright © 2013, Journal of Neurophysiology