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J Neurophysiol. 2000 Feb;83(2):693-704.

Recurrent excitatory connectivity in the dentate gyrus of kindled and kainic acid-treated rats.

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Departments of Neurology and Anatomy and The Neuroscience Training Program, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 53792, USA.


Repeated seizures induce mossy fiber axon sprouting, which reorganizes synaptic connectivity in the dentate gyrus. To examine the possibility that sprouted mossy fiber axons may form recurrent excitatory circuits, connectivity between granule cells in the dentate gyrus was examined in transverse hippocampal slices from normal rats and epileptic rats that experienced seizures induced by kindling and kainic acid. The experiments were designed to functionally assess seizure-induced development of recurrent circuitry by exploiting information available about the time course of seizure-induced synaptic reorganization in the kindling model and detailed anatomic characterization of sprouted fibers in the kainic acid model. When recurrent inhibitory circuits were blocked by the GABA(A) receptor antagonist bicuculline, focal application of glutamate microdrops at locations in the granule cell layer remote from the recorded granule cell evoked trains of excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) and population burst discharges in epileptic rats, which were never observed in slices from normal rats. The EPSPs and burst discharges were blocked by bath application of 1 microM tetrodotoxin and were therefore dependent on network-driven synaptic events. Excitatory connections were detected between blades of the dentate gyrus in hippocampal slices from rats that experienced kainic acid-induced status epilepticus. Trains of EPSPs and burst discharges were also evoked in granule cells from kindled rats obtained after > or = 1 wk of kindled seizures, but were not evoked in slices examined 24 h after a single afterdischarge, before the development of sprouting. Excitatory connectivity between blades of the dentate gyrus was also assessed in slices deafferented by transection of the perforant path, and bathed in artificial cerebrospinal fluid (ACSF) containing bicuculline to block GABA(A) receptor-dependent recurrent inhibitory circuits and 10 mM [Ca(2+)](o) to suppress polysynaptic activity. Low-intensity electrical stimulation of the infrapyramidal blade under these conditions failed to evoke a response in suprapyramidal granule cells from normal rats (n = 15), but in slices from epileptic rats evoked an EPSP at a short latency (2.59 +/- 0.36 ms) in 5 of 18 suprapyramidal granule cells. The results are consistent with formation of monosynaptic excitatory connections between blades of the dentate gyrus. Recurrent excitatory circuits developed in the dentate gyrus of epileptic rats in a time course that corresponded to the development of mossy fiber sprouting and demonstrated patterns of functional connectivity corresponding to anatomic features of the sprouted mossy fiber pathway.

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