Cereb Cortex 2019 Dec;29(11):4679-4696
Department of Anesthesiology, University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO, USA.
Although the central medial nucleus (CeM) of the thalamus is an essential part of the arousal system for sleep and anesthesia initiation, the precise mechanisms that regulate its activity are not well studied. We examined the role of CaV3.1 isoform of T-type calcium channels (T-channels) in the excitability and rhythmic activity of CeM neurons during isoflurane (ISO)-induced anesthesia by using mouse genetics and selective pharmacology. Patch-clamp recordings taken from acute brain slices revealed that CaV3.1 channels in CeM are inhibited by prototypical volatile anesthetic ISO (250 and 500 μM) and selective T-channels blocker 3,5-dichloro-N-[1-(2,2-dimethyl-tetrahydro-pyran-4-ylmethyl)-4-fluoro-piperidin-4-ylmethyl]-benzamide (TTA-P2). Both TTA-P2 and ISO attenuated tonic and burst firing modes, and hyperpolarized CeM neurons from wild type (WT) mice. These effects were greatly diminished or abolished in CaV3.1 null mice. Our ensuing in vivo local field potential (LFP) recordings from CeM indicated that the ability of TTA-P2 and anesthetic concentrations of ISO to promote δ oscillation was substantially weakened in CaV3.1 null mice. Furthermore, escalating ISO concentrations induced stronger burst-suppression LFP pattern in mutant than in WT mice. Our results demonstrate for the first time the importance of CaV3.1 channels in thalamocortical oscillations from the non-specific thalamic nuclei that underlie clinically important effects of ISO.