Send to

Choose Destination
J Neurophysiol. 1997 Apr;77(4):1829-43.

Ionic mechanisms of muscarinic depolarization in entorhinal cortex layer II neurons.

Author information

Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Montreal Neurological Institute and McGill University, Quebec, Canada.


The mechanisms underlying direct muscarinic depolarizing responses in the stellate cells (SCs) and non-SCs of medial entorhinal cortex layer II were investigated in tissue slices by intracellular recording and pressure-pulse applications of carbachol (CCh). Subthreshold CCh depolarizations were largely potentiated in amplitude and duration when paired with a short DC depolarization that triggered cell firing. During Na+ conductance block, CCh depolarizations were also potentiated by a brief DC depolarization that allowed Ca2+ influx and the potentiation was more robust in non-SCs than in SCs. Also, in non-SCs, CCh depolarizations could be accompanied by spikelike voltage oscillations at a slow frequency. In both SCs and non-SCs, the voltage-current (V-I) relations were similarly affected by CCh, which caused a shift to the left of the steady-state V-I relations over the entire voltage range and an increase in apparent slope input resistance at potentials positive to about -70 mV. CCh responses potentiated by Ca2+ influx demonstrated a selective increase in slope input resistance at potentials positive to about -75 mV in relation to the nonpotentiated responses. K+ conductance block with intracellular injection of Cs+ (3 M) and extracellular Ba2+ (1 mM) neither abolished CCh depolarizations nor resulted in any qualitatively distinct effect of CCh on the V-I relations. CCh depolarizations were also undiminished by block of the time-dependent inward rectifier Ih, with extracellular Cs . However, CCh depolarizations were abolished during Ca2+ conductance block with low-Ca2+ (0.5 mM) solutions containing Cd2+, Co2+, or Mn2+, as well as by intracellular Ca2+ chelation with bis-(o-aminophenoxy)-N,N,N',N'-tetraacetic acid. Inhibition of the Na+-K+ ATPase with strophanthidin resulted in larger CCh depolarizations. On the other hand, when NaCl was replaced by N-methyl-D-glucamine, CCh depolarizations were largely diminished. CCh responses were blocked by 0.8 microM pirenzepine, whereas hexahydro-sila-difenidolhydrochloride,p-fluoroanalog (p-F-HHSiD) and himbacine were only effective antagonists at 5- to 10-fold larger concentrations. Our data are consistent with CCh depolarizations being mediated in both SCs and non-SCs by m1 receptor activation of a Ca2+-dependent cationic conductance largely permeable to Na+. Activation of this conductance is potentiated in a voltage-dependent manner by activity triggering Ca2+ influx. This property implements a Hebbian-like mechanism whereby muscarinic receptor activation may only be translated into substantial membrane depolarization if coupled to postsynaptic cell activity. Such a mechanism could be highly significant in light of the role of the entorhinal cortex in learning and memory as well as in pathologies such as temporal lobe epilepsy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center