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Neuroscience. 2011 Sep 29;192:11-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2011.07.015. Epub 2011 Jul 14.

Nonspecific effects of the gap junction blocker mefloquine on fast hippocampal network oscillations in the adult rat in vitro.

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Institute of Neurophysiology, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Oudenarder Strasse 16, D-13347 Berlin, Germany.


It has been suggested that gap junctions are involved in the synchronization during high frequency oscillations as observed during sharp wave-ripple complexes (SPW-Rs) and during recurrent epileptiform discharges (REDs). Ripple oscillations during SPW-Rs, possibly involved in memory replay and memory consolidation, reach frequencies of up to 200 Hz while ripple oscillations during REDs display frequencies up to 500 Hz. These fast oscillations may be synchronized by intercellular interactions through gap junctions. In area CA3, connexin 36 (Cx36) proteins are present and potentially sensitive to mefloquine. Here, we used hippocampal slices of adult rats to investigate the effects of mefloquine, which blocks Cx36, Cx43 and Cx50 gap junctions on both SPW-Rs and REDs. SPW-Rs were induced by high frequency stimulation in the CA3 region while REDs were recorded in the presence of the GABA(A) receptor blocker bicuculline (5 μM). Both, SPW-Rs and REDs were blocked by the gap junction blocker carbenoxolone. Mefloquine (50 μM), which did not affect stimulus-induced responses in area CA3, neither changed SPW-Rs nor superimposed ripple oscillations. During REDs, 25 and 50 μM mefloquine exerted only minor effects on the expression of REDs but significantly reduced the amplitude of superimposed ripples by ∼17 and ∼54%, respectively. Intracellular recordings of CA3 pyramidal cells revealed that mefloquine did not change their resting membrane potential and input resistance but significantly increased the afterhyperpolarization following evoked action potentials (APs) resulting in reduced probability of AP firing during depolarizing current injection. Similarly, mefloquine caused a reduction in AP generation during REDs. Together, our data suggest that mefloquine depressed RED-related ripple oscillations by reducing high frequency discharges and not necessarily by blocking electrical coupling.

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