Properties of an intermediate-duration inactivation process of the voltage-gated sodium conductance in rat hippocampal CA1 neurons

Christopher R. French, Zhen Zeng, David A. Williams, Elisa L. Hill-Yardin, Terence J. O’Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Rapid transmembrane flow of sodium ions produces the depolarizing phase of action potentials (APs) in most excitable tissue through voltage-gated sodium channels (NaV). Macroscopic currents display rapid activation followed by fast inactivation (IF) within milliseconds. Slow inactivation (IS) has been subsequently observed in several preparations including neuronal tissues. IS serves important physiological functions, but the kinetic properties are incompletely characterized, especially the operative timescales. Here we present evidence for an “intermediate inactivation” (II) process in rat hippocampal CA1 neurons with time constants of the order of 100 ms. The half-inactivation potentials (V05) of steady-state inactivation curves were hyperpolarized by increasing conditioning pulse duration from 50 to 500 ms and could be described by a sum of Boltzmann relations. II state transitions were observed after opening as well as subthreshold potentials. Entry into II after opening was relatively insensitive to membrane potential, and recovery of II became more rapid at hyperpolarized potentials. Removal of fast inactivation with cytoplasmic papaine revealed time constants of INa decay corresponding to II and IS with long depolarizations. Dynamic clamp revealed attenuation of trains of APs over the 102-ms timescale, suggesting a functional role of I: in repetitive firing accommodation. These experimental findings could be reproduced with a five-state Markov model. It is likely that II affects important aspects of hippocampal neuron response and may provide a drug target for sodium channel modulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)790-802
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2015


  • CA1
  • Inactivation
  • Na
  • Rat

Cite this