Spinal Sensory Neurons with novel action potentials

This project explored the physiological properties of the intriguing cerebrospinal fluid contacting neurons within the spinal cord. These sensory neurons are able to sense bending of the spinal cord and are involved in regulating motor output from the spinal cord. We showed that these sensory neurons have unusual action potentials, rather than using the typical sodium channels for depolarisation they use 2 types of calcium channels. This enables them to fire spikes of different amplitude and we showed that they can use such an amplitude code to signal inputs from different neurotransmitters. This is dramatically different from how most other neurons operate, where action potentials are all-or-non and generate a binary code. However the graded action potentials of cerebrospinal fluid contacting neurons do bear similarities to other sensory neurons found in the retina.The full paper can be viewed here.

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