Cortical neurons in vitro and in vivo fluctuate spontaneously between two stable membrane potentials: a depolarized UP state and a hyperpolarized DOWN state. UP states temporally correspond with multineuronal firing sequences which may be important for information processing. To examine how thalamic inputs interact with ongoing cortical UP state activity, we used calcium imaging and targeted whole-cell recordings of activated neurons in thalamocortical slices of mouse somatosensory cortex. Whereas thalamic stimulation during DOWN states generated multineuronal, synchronized UP states, identical stimulation during UP states had no effect on the subthreshold membrane dynamics of the vast majority of cells or on ongoing multineuronal temporal patterns. Both thalamocortical and corticocortical PSPs were significantly reduced and neuronal input resistance was significantly decreased during cortical UP states -- mechanistically consistent with UP state insensitivity. Our results demonstrate that cortical dynamics during UP states are insensitive to thalamic inputs.
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