Fernandez FR, White JA. Gain Control in CA1 Pyramidal Cells Using Changes in Somatic Conductance (2010) J Neurosci, 30 (1): 230-241.

Gain modulation is an important feature of neural activity. Previous work has focused on the ability of background synaptic noise to modulate the slope (i.e., gain) of the frequency–current (f–I) relationship in neurons. To date, demonstrations of gain control that are independent of synaptic noise have been limited. We investigated the effects of increasing somatic conductance in the form of tonic inhibition on the initial and steady-state f–I relationship of CA1 pyramidal cells. We find that increasing membrane conductance reduces the gain of the steady-state f–I relationship through a graded increase in the magnitude of spike frequency adaptation. Increased adaptation arises through a conductance-induced depolarization of spike voltage threshold. Thus, by increasing the magnitude of spike frequency adaptation, added conductance can reduce the gain of the steady-state f–I relationship in the absence of random background membrane fluctuations.