Sarno, 2022

2022 - eNeuro. 2022 May 17;9(3):ENEURO.0471-21.2022. doi: 10.1523/ENEURO.0471-21.2022. Print 2022 May-Jun.PMID: 35487703

Slow Inactivation of Sodium Channels Contributes to Short-Term Adaptation in Vomeronasal Sensory Neurons.

Sarno N, Hernandez-Clavijo A, Boccaccio A, Menini A, Pifferi S.


Adaptation plays an important role in sensory systems as it dynamically modifies sensitivity to allow the detection of stimulus changes. The vomeronasal system controls many social behaviors in most mammals by detecting pheromones released by conspecifics. Stimuli activate a transduction cascade in vomeronasal neurons that leads to spiking activity. Whether and how these neurons adapt to stimuli is still debated and largely unknown. Here, we measured short-term adaptation performing current-clamp whole-cell recordings by using diluted urine as a stimulus, as it contains many pheromones. We measured spike frequency adaptation in response to repeated identical stimuli of 2-10 s duration that was dependent on the time interval between stimuli. Responses to paired current steps, bypassing the signal transduction cascade, also showed spike frequency adaptation. We found that voltage-gated Na+ channels in VSNs undergo slow inactivation processes. Furthermore, recovery from slow inactivation of voltage-gated Na+ channels occurs in several seconds, a time scale similar to that measured during paired-pulse adaptation protocols, suggesting that it partially contributes to short-term spike frequency adaptation. We conclude that vomeronasal neurons do exhibit a time-dependent short-term spike frequency adaptation to repeated natural stimuli and that slow inactivation of Na+ channels contributes to this form of adaptation. These findings not only increase our knowledge about adaptation in the vomeronasal system, but also raise the question of whether slow inactivation of Na+ channels may play a role in other sensory systems.


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