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Front Neurosci. 2018 Mar 15;12:164. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2018.00164. eCollection 2018.

Pacing Hippocampal Sharp-Wave Ripples With Weak Electric Stimulation.

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Department of Pediatrics, The First Hospital of Jilin University, Chang Chun, China.
Department of Neuroscience, Georgetown University Medical Center, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, United States.
School of Biomedical Engineering, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China.
Department of Pharmacology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, United States.


Sharp-wave ripples (SWRs) are spontaneous neuronal population events that occur in the hippocampus during sleep and quiet restfulness, and are thought to play a critical role in the consolidation of episodic memory. SWRs occur at a rate of 30-200 events per minute. Their overall abundance may, however, be reduced with aging and neurodegenerative disease. Here we report that the abundance of SWR within murine hippocampal slices can be increased by paced administration of a weak electrical stimulus, especially when the spontaneously occurring rate is low or compromised. Resultant SWRs have large variations in amplitude and ripple patterns, which are morphologically indistinguishable from those of spontaneous SWRs, despite identical stimulus parameters which presumably activate the same CA3 neurons surrounding the electrode. The stimulus intensity for reliably pacing SWRs is weaker than that required for inducing detectable evoked field potentials in CA1. Moreover, repetitive ~1 Hz stimuli with low intensity can reliably evoke thousands of SWRs without detectable LTD or "habituation." Our results suggest that weak stimuli may facilitate the spontaneous emergence of SWRs without significantly altering their characteristics. Pacing SWRs with weak electric stimuli could potentially be useful for restoring their abundance in the damaged hippocampus.


CA1; CA3; Sharp wave-ripples; electrical stimulus; hippocampus; mouse; pacing

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