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J Neurophysiol. 1997 Nov;78(5):2631-40.

Properties of carbachol-induced oscillatory activity in rat hippocampus.

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Department of Neurobiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.


Properties of carbachol-induced oscillatory activity in rat hippocampus. J. Neurophysiol. 78: 2631-2640, 1997. The recent resurgence of interest in carbachol oscillations as an in vitro model of theta rhythm in the hippocampus prompted us to evaluate the circuit mechanisms involved. In extracellular recordings, a regularly spaced bursting pattern of field potentials was observed in both CA3 and CA1 subfields in the presence of carbachol. Removal of the CA3 region abolished oscillatory activity observed in CA1, suggesting that the oscillatory generator is located in CA3. An alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptor antagonist, 6,7-dinitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione (DNQX), blocked carbachol oscillations, indicating that AMPA receptor-mediated synaptic currents are necessary for the population oscillation. Moreover, the spread of oscillatory activity into CA1 required intact N-methyl--aspartate receptors. These data are more consistent with epileptiform bursting than with theta rhythm described in vivo. In the presence of carbachol, individual CA3 pyramidal cells exhibited a slow, rhythmic intrinsic oscillation that was not blocked by DNQX and that was enhanced by membrane hyperpolarization. We hypothesize that this slower oscillation is the fundamental oscillator that participates in triggering the population oscillation by exciting multiple synaptically connected CA3 neurons. gamma-aminobutyric acid-A (GABAA) receptors are not necessary for carbachol to elicit synchronous CA3 field events but are essential to the bursting pattern observed. Neither GABAB nor metabotropic glutamate receptors appear to be necessary for carbachol oscillations. However, both nicotinic and M1 and M3 muscarinic cholinergic receptors contribute to the generation of this activity. These results establish the local circuit elements and neurotransmitter receptors that contribute to carbachol-induced oscillations and indicate that carbachol-induced oscillations are fundamentally distinct from theta rhythm in vivo.

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