Frequency-dependent synchrony in locus ceruleus: Role of electrotonic coupling

Veronica A. Alvarez, Carson C. Chow, Elisabeth J. Van Bockstaele, John T. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Electrotonic coupling synchronizes the spontaneous firing of locus ceruleus (LC) neurons in the neonatal rat brain, whereas in adults, synchronous activity is rare. This report examines the role of action potential frequency on synchronous activity in the adult LC. Decreasing the firing frequency in slices from adult animals facilitated the appearance of subthreshold oscillations and increased the correlation of the membrane potential between pairs of neurons. Conversely, increasing the firing frequency decreased the amplitude and synchrony of the oscillations among pairs. The frequency-dependent synchrony was not observed in slices from neonatal rats, where synchrony was observed at all frequencies, suggesting a developmental change in the properties of the LC network. A mathematical model confirmed that a reduction of the coupling strength among a pair of coupled neurons could generate frequency-dependent synchrony. In slices from adult animals, the combination of electrotonic coupling and firing frequency are the key elements that regulate synchronous firing in this nucleus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4032-4036
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 19 2002


  • Mathematical model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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