CA1 pyramidal neuron: Persistent Na current mediates steep synaptic amplification (Hsu et al 2018)

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This paper shows that persistent sodium current critically contributes to the subthreshold nonlinear dynamics of CA1 pyramidal neurons and promotes rapidly reversible conversion between place-cell and silent-cell in the hippocampus. A simple model built with realistic axo-somatic voltage-gated sodium channels in CA1 (Carter et al., 2012; Neuron 75, 1081–1093) demonstrates that the biophysics of persistent sodium current is sufficient to explain the synaptic amplification effects. A full model built previously (Grienberger et al., 2017; Nature Neuroscience, 20(3): 417–426) with detailed morphology, ion channel types and biophysical properties of CA1 place cells naturally reproduces the steep voltage dependence of synaptic responses.
1 . Hsu CL, Zhao X, Milstein AD, Spruston N (2018) Persistent sodium current mediates the steep voltage dependence of spatial coding in hippocampal pyramidal neurons Neuron 99:1-16
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Model Information (Click on a link to find other models with that property)
Model Type: Synapse; Channel/Receptor; Neuron or other electrically excitable cell; Axon; Dendrite;
Brain Region(s)/Organism: Hippocampus;
Cell Type(s): Hippocampus CA1 pyramidal GLU cell; Abstract single compartment conductance based cell;
Channel(s): I Sodium; I A; I M; I h; I K;
Gap Junctions:
Receptor(s): AMPA; NMDA;
Transmitter(s): Glutamate;
Simulation Environment: NEURON;
Model Concept(s): Ion Channel Kinetics; Membrane Properties; Synaptic Integration; Synaptic Amplification; Place cell/field; Active Dendrites; Conductance distributions; Detailed Neuronal Models; Electrotonus; Markov-type model;
Implementer(s): Hsu, Ching-Lung [hsuc at]; Milstein, Aaron D. [aaronmil at];
Search NeuronDB for information about:  Hippocampus CA1 pyramidal GLU cell; AMPA; NMDA; I A; I K; I M; I h; I Sodium; Glutamate;
This is the top level readme for the NEURON models associated with the

Hsu CL, Zhao X, Milstein AD, Spruston N (2018) Persistent sodium
current mediates the steep voltage dependence of spatial coding in
hippocampal pyramidal neurons. Neuron 99, 1–16

These models were based on previously published models (as described
in the paper). The simulations serve as independent tests for the
proposed mechanism underlying the synaptic amplification observed in
our experiments.

These models require that the NEURON simulation environment is
installed, which is freely available from

To run the simple model see the instructions in the readme in the
SimpleModel folder, and for the full model (which is also available at
the github repo /neurosutras/nap) see the readme in
the FullModel folder.

These models were contributed by Ching-Lung Hsu
( and Aaron Milstein (

20180615 An update from Aaron Milstein for the FullModel folder where
the three python scripts for generating figures take in the required
.hdf5 file paths as command line arguments, e.g.:

python plot_nap_EPSC_amplification data/20180220_nap_EPSC_amplification_soma.hdf5  # generates plots similar to Figure S5
python plot_nap_EPSP_amplification data/07162017_nap_amplification_DC_soma_stim_trunk.hdf5 data/07162017_nap_amplification_DC_dend_stim_trunk.hdf5  # generates plots similar to Figure 5C and S4
python plot_nap_EPSP_amplification_IO data/08112017_nap_amplification_IO_DC_soma_stim_trunk.hdf5  # generates plots similar to Figure 6B