TRP Channels and Neural Persistent Activity
Antonio Reboreda, Lydia Jiménez-Díaz, and Juan D. Navarro-López
One of the integrative properties of the nervous system is its capability to, by transient motor commands or brief sensory stimuli, evoke persistent neuronal changes, mainly as a sustained, tonic action potential firing. This neural activity, named persistent activity, is found in a good number of brain regions and is thought to be a neural substrate for short-term storage and accumulation of sensory or motor information . Examples of this persistent neural activity have been reported in prefrontal  and entorhinal  cortices, as part of the neural mechanisms involved in short-term working memory . Interestingly, the general organization of the motor systems assumes the presence of bursts of short-lasting motor commands encoding movement characteristics such as velocity, duration, and amplitude, followed by a maintained tonic firing encoding the position at which the moving appendage should be maintained [5, 6]. Generation of qualitatively similar sustained discharges have also been found in spinal and supraspinal regions in relation to pain processing [7, 8]. Thus, persistent neural activity seems to be necessary for both behavioral (positions of fixation) and cognitive (working memory) processes. Persistent firing mechanisms have been proposed to involve the participation of a non-specific cationic current (CAN current) mainly mediated by activation of TRPC channels. Because the function and generation of persistent activity is still poorly understood, here we aimed to review and discuss the putative role of TRP-like channels on its generation and/or maintenance.