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Neuroscience. 1997 Mar;77(1):87-96.

Activation of interneurons at the stratum oriens/alveus border suppresses excitatory transmission to apical dendrites in the CA1 area of the mouse hippocampus.

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  • 1Institute of Physiology II, Heinrich-Heine-Univerisity, Düsseldorf, Germany.


The consequences of activation or inactivation of interneurons at the CA1 stratum oriens/ alveus border for signal transmission at the apical dendritic region of pyramidal cells were investigated in slices from mice submerged in a perfusion chamber. A characteristic subpopulation of interneurons with a horizontal dendritic tree in this region, which sends a GABAergic projection to the apical dendrites of CA1 pyramidal cells is strongly excited by metabotropic glutamate receptor activation and receives GABAergic input from vasoactive intestinal polypeptide-containing interneurons. Pressure ejection of glutamate or the metabotropic agonist 1s,3r-aminocyclopentane dicarboxylic acid from micropipettes onto the stratum oriens/alveus border caused a long lasting (more than 90 min) decrease of field-excitatory postsynaptic potentials in the strata radiatum and lacunosum-moleculare. The GABAB antagonist CGP 35348 (100 microM in the perfusion fluid) partially and reversibly blocked this effect. Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide- (0.1 microM in the bath) excited neurons with response and firing properties characteristic for interneurons at the oriens/alveus border. Local pressure application of vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (10 microM) to the alveus region led, after a brief (2 min) and small (10%) increase, to a longer lasting (30-50 min) decrease (by 20-30%) in the slope of the field-excitatory postsynaptic potential in strata radiatum and lacunosum-moleculare. This action was completely blocked by bath application of CGP 35348. Local application of tetrodotoxin in the stratum oriens/alveus region markedly increased the slope of evoked dendritic excitatory postsynaptic potentials, and caused multiple firing of pyramidal cells. Thus, stratum oriens/alveus interneurons have a profound inhibitory effect on signal transmission in the apical dendritic area of CA1, which is, at least in part, mediated by GABAB receptors. It appears that the GABAB receptor-mediated effect in stratum lacunosum-moleculare is produced by vasoactive intestinal polypeptide-sensitive interneurons.

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