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Front Neurosci. 2015 May 6;9:160. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2015.00160. eCollection 2015.

Functional optical probing of the hippocampal trisynaptic circuit in vitro: network dynamics, filter properties, and polysynaptic induction of CA1 LTP.

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1
Department Stress Neurobiology and Neurogenetics, Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry Munich, Germany.

Abstract

Decades of brain research have identified various parallel loops linking the hippocampus with neocortical areas, enabling the acquisition of spatial and episodic memories. Especially the hippocampal trisynaptic circuit [entorhinal cortex layer II → dentate gyrus (DG) → cornu ammonis (CA)-3 → CA1] was studied in great detail because of its seemingly simple connectivity and characteristic structures that are experimentally well accessible. While numerous researchers focused on functional aspects, obtained from a limited number of cells in distinct hippocampal subregions, little is known about the neuronal network dynamics which drive information across multiple synapses for subsequent long-term storage. Fast voltage-sensitive dye imaging in vitro allows real-time recording of activity patterns in large/meso-scale neuronal networks with high spatial resolution. In this way, we recently found that entorhinal theta-frequency input to the DG most effectively passes filter mechanisms of the trisynaptic circuit network, generating activity waves which propagate across the entire DG-CA axis. These "trisynaptic circuit waves" involve high-frequency firing of CA3 pyramidal neurons, leading to a rapid induction of classical NMDA receptor-dependent long-term potentiation (LTP) at CA3-CA1 synapses (CA1 LTP). CA1 LTP has been substantially evidenced to be essential for some forms of explicit learning in mammals. Here, we review data with particular reference to whole network-level approaches, illustrating how activity propagation can take place within the trisynaptic circuit to drive formation of CA1 LTP.

KEYWORDS:

CA1 LTP; filter; hippocampus; neuronal network dynamics; theta; trisynaptic circuit; voltage-sensitive dye imaging

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