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Cortex CerebriPerformance, Structural and Functional Organisation of the Cortex$
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O. D. Creutzfeldt

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780198523246

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198523246.001.0001

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General neurophysiology of the cortex

General neurophysiology of the cortex

(p.131) 4 General neurophysiology of the cortex
Cortex Cerebri

O.D. Creutzfeldt

Oxford University Press

Cortical nerve cells share some of the most basic electrophysiological properties with other nerve cells, with the ventral horn motor neurone often used as a model. In this cell, synaptic excitation is mediated via axo-dendritic and axo-somatic synapses, whereas inhibitory synapses are assumed to be localized predominantly in the region of the soma. Cortical pyramidal neurones receive inhibitory synapses of different origin which terminate on three strategically different locations: in a rather basket-like formation on the soma; on the dendrites (often on spines, and even together with an excitatory synapse on the same spine); and on the axon hillock or initial segment, (i.e., just where the axon originates from the soma and before the beginning of the myelin sheath). In cortical neurones a variety of voltage-dependent ion channels can be demonstrated, but these do not appear to be present exclusively in cortical neurones. Neither is the variety of cortical transmitters and postsynaptic transmitter receptors a unique feature of cortical neurones. It is still appropriate, however, to discuss cortical neurophysiology in its own right, because the unique geometry, orientation, and organization of cortical neurones and afferents are associated with a special cortical phenomenology. This also includes specialized cortical mechanisms possibly related to plasticity and learning.

Keywords:   cortical nerve cells, electrophysiological properties, synaptic excitation, axo-dendritic synapses, axo-somatic synapses, voltage-dependent ion channels

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