Rongala, Udaya B; Mazzoni, Alberto; Spanne, Anton; Jörntell, Henrik; Oddo, Calogero M
We have previously reported different spike firing correlation patterns among pairs of adjacent pyramidal neurons within the same layer of S1 cortex in vivo, which was argued to suggest that acquired synaptic weight modifications would tend to differentiate adjacent cortical neurons despite them having access to near-identical afferent inputs. Here we made simultaneous single-electrode loose patch-clamp recordings from 14 pairs of adjacent neurons in the lateral thalamus of the ketamine-xylazine anesthetized rat in vivo to study the correlation patterns in their spike firing. As the synapses on thalamic neurons are dominated by a high number of low weight cortical inputs, which would be expected to be shared for two adjacent neurons, and as far as thalamic neurons have homogenous membrane physiology and spike generation, they would be expected to have overall similar spike firing and therefore also correlation patterns. However, we find that across a variety of thalamic nuclei the correlation patterns between pairs of adjacent thalamic neurons vary widely. The findings suggest that the connectivity and cellular physiology of the thalamocortical circuitry, in contrast to what would be expected from a straightforward interpretation of corticothalamic maps and uniform intrinsic cellular neurophysiology, has been shaped by learning to the extent that each pair of thalamic neuron has a unique relationship in their spike firing activity.