Modeling the Behavior of Thalamic Neurons: VCLAMP & CCLAMP

David McCormick and I have written single cell modeling programs that can reproduce much of the cellular behavior of these neurons. They are available for the taking.


Huguenard, J.R. and McCormick, D.A. (1992) Simulation of the currents involved in rhythmic oscillations in thalamic relay neurons. J. Neurophysiol.,68: 1373-1383.

McCormick, D.A. and Huguenard, J.R. (1992) A model of the electrophysiological properties of thalamocortical relay neurons. J. Neurophysiol.68: 1384-1400.


These programs will simulate the electrical behavior of neurons in either current clamp or voltage clamp modes. The documentation is an MS-Word document, with illustrations. To get these, be sure to set your WEB browser to receive to disk, rather than the screen. The files can also be obtained directly via anonymous FTP. Send me email for specific instructions.To install the programs on your PC, please obtain both install files (Install.bat amp; Install.txt) and the programs themselves (grow_prg.exe). The documentation is useful, but not necessary to run the program.

DOWNLOAD all files into a temporary directory, then run install.bat:

Programs   Read Me file        Installation File        Documentation

File Size: 250 K (programs) 1 meg (documentation). The files are self-extracting.

Hardware/Software Requirements:

    • MS-DOS computer
    • EGA or VGA compatible display

See the related page: Electrophysiology of the Neuron

Modeling the Behavior of Thalamic Neurons, Part II:

Dendritic excitability in thalamic reticular neurons.

    • A collaboration with A. Destexhe, D. Contreras, M. Steriade, and T. Sejnowski demonstrated that the dendrites of GABAergic neurons of nucleus Reticularis thalami (nRt) contain high levels of low-threshold calcium channels. These results suggest that low-threshold bursts in nRt neurons are dendritically generated, and that ongoing excitatory synaptic activity in the dendrites will strongly modulate burst generation. Look at

Alain Destexhe’s Home Page

    for a copy of the J. Neurosci. paper. Later we confirmed that the dendritic localization of low-threshold channels is also a prominent feature of thalamocortical relay cells.