Laminar differences in recurrent excitatory transmission in the rat entorhinal cortex in vitro

A Dhillon, Roland S G Jones

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Paired intracellular recordings were used to investigate recurrent excitatory transmission in layers II, III and V of the rat entorhinal cortex in vitro. There was a relatively high probability of Ending a recurrent connection between pairs of pyramidal neurons in both layer V (around 12%) and layer III (around 9%). In complete contrast, we have failed to find any recurrent synaptic connections between principal neurons in layer II, and this may be an important factor in the relative resistance of this layer in generating synchronized epileptiform activity. In general, recurrent excitatory postsynaptic potentials in layers III and V of the entorhinal cortex had similar properties to those recorded in other cortical areas, although the probabilities of connection are among the highest reported. Recurrent excitatory postsynaptic potentials recorded in layer V were smaller with faster rise times than those recorded in layer III. In both layers, the recurrent potentials were mediated by glutamate primarily acting at alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-3-isoxazole receptors, although there appeared to be a slow component mediated by N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors. In layer III, recurrent transmission failed on about 30% of presynaptic action potentials evoked at 0.2 Hz. This failure rate increased markedly with increasing (2, 3 Hz) frequency of activation. In layer V the failure rate at low frequency was less (19%), and although it increased at higher frequencies this effect was less pronounced than in layer III. Finally, in layer III, there was evidence for a relatively high probability of electrical coupling between pyramidal neurons. We have previously suggested that layers IV/V of the entorhinal cortex readily generate synchronized epileptiform discharges, whereas layer II is relatively resistant to seizure generation. The present demonstration that recurrent excitatory connections are widespread in layer V but not layer II could support this proposal. The relatively high degree of recurrent connections and electrical coupling between layer III cells may he a factor in it's susceptibility to neurodegeneration during chronic epileptic conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-422
Number of pages10
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2000


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