The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) is known to be the master biological clock in mammals. Despite the periodic mean firing rate, interspike interval (ISI) patterns of SCN neurons are quite complex and irregular. The aim of the present study was to investigate the existence of nonlinear determinism in the complex ISI patterns of SCN neurons. ISI sequences were recorded from 173 neurons in rat hypothalamic slice preparations using a cell-attached patch recording technique. Their correlation dimensions (D2) were estimated, and were then compared with those of the randomly-shuffled surrogate data. We found that only 16 neurons (16/173) exhibited deterministic ISI patterns of spikes. In addition, clustering analysis revealed that SCN neurons could be divided into two subgroups of neurons each having distinct values of coefficient of variation (CV) and skewness (SK). Interestingly, most deterministic SCN neurons (14/16) belonged to the group of irregularly spiking neurons having large CV and SK values. To see if the neuronal coupling mediated by the γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), the major neurotransmitter in the SCN, contributed to the deterministic nature, we examined the effect of the GABAA receptor antagonist bicuculline on D2 values of 56 SCN neurons. 8 SCN neurons which were originally stochastic became to exhibit deterministic characteristics after the bicuculline application. This result suggests that the deterministic nature of the SCN neurons arises not from GABAergic synaptic interactions, but likely from properties inherent to neurons themselves.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by Creative Research Initiatives of the Korean Ministry of Science and Technology.
- Interspike intervals
- Nonlinear determinism
- Suprachiasmatic nucleus
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience