Slow oscillations (<1 Hz) in neural activity occur during sleep and quiet wakefulness in both animals and humans. Single-cell recordings in cortical neurons have shown that these oscillations are driven by a combination of excitatory and inhibitory synaptic inputs. During up-states, although the ratio between them varies between cells, excitation and inhibition follow similar time courses. Neurons in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) also show slow oscillations between the resting membrane potential (down-state) and depolarized potentials (upstates). Delivery of footshock during the down-state fully reproduces up-states in these cells. Here we report that up-states in BLA principal neurons up-states begin with an excitatory drive that is rapidly (within '50 ms) overwhelmed by inhibitory input. This excess of inhibitory drive is short lasting (300-400 ms), after which up-states are maintained by a tight balance between excitation and inhibition. This initial large inhibitory input restricts action potential generation and reduces the firing frequency of these cells. These results indicate that, in contrast to cortical neurons, up-states in BLA neurons show an initial period of strong cortically driven feed-forward inhibition. For the remainder of the up-state, feedback inhibition then acts to balance excitatory input.
Windels, F., Crane, J., & Sah, P. (2010). Inhibition dominates the early phase of up-states in the basolateral amygdala. Journal of Neurophysiology, 104(6), 3433-3438. https://doi.org/10.1152/jn.00531.2010