Many neurons exhibit subthreshold membrane-potential resonances, such that the largest voltage responses occur at preferred stimulation frequencies. Because subthreshold resonances are known to influence the rhythmic activity at the network level, it is vital to understand how they affect spike generation on the single-cell level. We therefore investigated both resonant and nonresonant neurons of rat entorhinal cortex. A minimal resonate-and-fire type model based on measured physiological parameters captures fundamental properties of neuronal firing statistics surprisingly well and helps to shed light on the mechanisms that shape spike patterns: 1) subthreshold resonance together with a spike-induced reset of subthreshold oscillations leads to spike clustering and 2) spike-induced dynamics influence the fine structure of interspike interval (ISI) distributions and are responsible for ISI correlations appearing at higher firing rates (≥3 Hz). Both mechanisms are likely to account for the specific discharge characteristics of various cell types.
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