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J Neurosci. 2008 Apr 9;28(15):4096-107. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0247-08.2008.

The hippocamposeptal pathway generates rhythmic firing of GABAergic neurons in the medial septum and diagonal bands: an investigation using a complete septohippocampal preparation in vitro.

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  • 1Douglas Hospital Research Center, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H4H 1R3.


The medial septum diagonal band area (MS/DB) projects to the hippocampus through the fornix/fimbria pathway and is implicated in generating hippocampal theta oscillations. The hippocampus also projects back to the MS/DB, but very little is known functionally about this input. Here, we investigated the physiological role of hippocamposeptal feedback to the MS/DB in a complete in vitro septohippocampal preparation containing the intact interconnecting fornix/fimbria pathway. We demonstrated that carbachol-induced rhythmic theta-like hippocampal oscillations recorded extracellularly were synchronized with powerful rhythmic IPSPs in whole-cell recorded MS/DB neurons. Interestingly, we found that these IPSPs evoked rebound spiking in GABAergic MS/DB neurons. In contrast, putative cholinergic and glutamatergic MS/DB neurons responded only weakly with rebound spiking and, as a result, were mostly silent during theta-like oscillations. We next determined the mechanism underlying the rebound spiking that followed the IPSPs in MS/DB GABAergic neurons using phasic electrical stimulation of the fornix/fimbria pathway. We demonstrate that the increased rebound spiking was attributable to the activation of I(h) current, because it was significantly reduced by low concentrations of the I(h) antagonist ZD7288 [4-(N-ethyl-N-phenylamino)-1,2-dimethyl-6-(methylamino) pyridinium chloride]. Together, these results suggest that rhythmical activity in hippocampus is transferred to the MS/DB and can preferentially phase the spiking of GABAergic MS/DB neurons because of their significant expression of I(h) currents. Our data demonstrate that hippocamposeptal inhibition facilitates theta rhythmic discharges in MS/DB GABAergic neurons while favoring the inhibition of most ACh and glutamate neurons.

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