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FIGURE 5–9. Variation (sometimes substantial) in patterns of activity of a neuron type, depending on the preparation in which it is recorded.

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FIGURE 5–9. Variation (sometimes substantial) in patterns of activity of a neuron type, depending on the preparation in which it is recorded.(A) Extracellular recordings of a dopamine neuron in an intact anesthetized rat (i.e., in vivo) illustrate the typical irregular firing pattern of the cell, with single spikes occurring intermixed with bursts of action potentials. (B) In contrast, intracellular recordings of a dopamine neuron in an isolated brain slice preparation (i.e., in vitro) illustrate the pacemaker pattern that occurs exclusively in identified dopamine neurons in this preparation. For dopamine neurons, a pacemaker firing pattern is rarely observed in vivo, and burst firing has never been observed in the in vitro preparation. However, although the activity recorded in vitro is obviously an abstraction compared with the firing pattern of this neuron in vivo, a comparative study in each preparation does provide the opportunity to examine factors that may underlie the modulation of firing pattern in this neuronal type.Source. Adapted from Grace AA: "The Regulation of Dopamine Neuron Activity as Determined by In Vivo and In Vitro Intracellular Recordings," in The Neurophysiology of Dopamine Systems. Edited by Chiodo LA, Freeman AS. Detroit, MI, Lake Shore Publications, 1987, pp. 1–67 (Copyright 1987, Lake Shore Publications. Used with permission); and Grace AA, Bunney BS: "Intracellular and Extracellular Electrophysiology of Nigral Dopaminergic Neurons, I: Identification and Characterization." Neuroscience 10:301–315, 1983. Copyright 1983, International Brain Research Organization. Used with permission.

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