Simulation of Dendritic Cav1.3 Channels in Cat Lumbar Motoneurons: Spatial Distribution

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We used computer simulations to study the dendritic spatial distribution of low voltage-activated L-type calcium (Ca(V)1.3 type) channels, which mediate hysteretic persistent inward current (PIC) in spinal motoneurons. This study was prompted by the growing experimental evidence of the functional interactions between synaptic inputs and active conductances over the motoneuron dendritic tree. A compartmental cable model of an adult cat alpha-motoneuron was developed in NEURON simulation environment constituting the detailed morphology of type-identified triceps surae alpha-motoneuron and realistic distribution of group Ia afferent-to-motoneuron contacts. Simulations of different distributions of Ca(V)1.3 channels were conducted and the resultant behavior was compared to experimental data. Our results suggest that Ca(V)1.3 channels do not uniformly cover the whole motoneuron dendritic tree. Instead, their distribution is similar to that of synaptic contacts. We found that Ca(V)1.3 channels are primarily localized to a wide intermediate band overlapping with the dendritic Ia-synaptic territory at dendritic distances of 300 to 850 microm (0.62 +/- 0.21lambda) from the soma in triceps surae alpha-motoneurons. These findings explain the functional interaction between synaptic inputs and the Ca(V)1.3 channels over the motoneuron dendritic tree.



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