Network activity evoked by neocortical stimulation in area 36 of the guinea pig perirhinal cortex

J Neurophysiol. 2001 Jul;86(1):164-72. doi: 10.1152/jn.2001.86.1.164.


The perirhinal cortex is a key structure involved in memory consolidation and retrieval. In spite of the extensive anatomical studies that describe the intrinsic and extrinsic associative connections of the perirhinal cortex, the activity generated within such a network has been poorly investigated. We describe here the pattern of synaptic interactions that subtend the responses evoked in area 36 of the perirhinal cortex by neocortical and local stimulation. The experiments were carried out in the in vitro isolated guinea pig brain. The synaptic perirhinal circuit was reconstructed by integrating results obtained during intracellular recordings from layer II-III neurons with simultaneous current source density analysis of laminar profiles performed with 16-channel silicon probes. Both neocortical and local stimulation of area 36 determined a brief monosynaptic excitatory potential in layer II-III neurons, followed by a biphasic synaptic inhibitory potential possibly mediated by a feed-forward inhibitory circuit at sites close to the stimulation electrode and a late excitatory postsynaptic potential (EPSP) that propagated at distance within area 36 along the rhinal sulcus. During a paired-pulse stimulation test, the inhibitory postsynaptic potential (IPSP) and the late EPSP were abolished in the second conditioned response, suggesting that they are generated by poli-synaptic circuits. Current source density analysis of the field responses demonstrated that 1) the monosynaptic activity was generated in layers II-III and 2) the sink associated to the disynaptic responses was localized within the superficial layer of area 36. We conclude that the neocortical input induces a brief monosynaptic excitation in area 36 of the perirhinal cortex, that is curtailed by a prominent inhibition and generates a recurrent excitatory associative response that travels at distance within area 36 itself. The results suggest that the perirhinal cortex network has the potentials to integrate multimodal incoming neocortical information on its way to the hippocampus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Entorhinal Cortex / cytology*
  • Entorhinal Cortex / physiology*
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Neocortex / cytology*
  • Neocortex / physiology*
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology
  • Olfactory Pathways / cytology*
  • Olfactory Pathways / physiology*