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ANNEE : 2021

Neural excitability increases with axonal resistance between soma and axon initial segment

AUTEURS : Fékété A, Ankri N, Brette R, Debanne D.

REVUE : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA
The position of the axon initial segment (AIS) is thought to play a critical role in neuronal excitability. Previous experimental studies have found that a distal shift in AIS position correlates with a reduction in excitability. Yet theoretical work has suggested the opposite, because of increased electrical isolation. A distal shift in AIS position corresponds to an elevation of axial resistance Ra. We therefore examined how changes in Ra at the axon hillock impact the voltage threshold (Vth) of the somatic action potential in L5 pyramidal neurons. Increasing Ra by mechanically pinching the axon between the soma and the AIS was found to lower Vth by ∼6 mV. Conversely, decreasing Ra by substituting internal ions with higher mobility elevated Vth. All Ra-dependent changes in Vth could be reproduced in a Hodgkin–Huxley compartmental model. We conclude that in L5 pyramidal neurons, excitability increases with axial resistance and therefore with a distal shift of the AIS.