Simplest relationship between local field potential and intracellular signals in layered neural tissue.
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The relationship between the extracellularly measured electric field potential resulting from synaptic activity in an ensemble of neurons and intracellular signals in these neurons is an important but still open question. Based on a model neuron with a cylindrical dendrite and lumped soma, we derive a formula that substantiates a proportionality between the local field potential and the total somatic transmembrane current that emerges from the difference between the somatic and dendritic membrane potentials. The formula is tested by intra- and extracellular recordings of evoked synaptic responses in hippocampal slices. Additionally, the contribution of different membrane currents to the field potential is demonstrated in a two-population mean-field model. Our formalism, which allows for a simple estimation of unknown dendritic currents directly from somatic measurements, provides an interpretation of the local field potential in terms of intracellularly measurable synaptic signals. It is also applicable to the study of cortical activity using two-compartment neuronal population models.
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