Predominance of late-spiking neurons in layer VI of rat perirhinal cortex

J Neurosci. 2001 Jul 15;21(14):4969-76. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.21-14-04969.2001.


Recent work demonstrated the importance of perirhinal cortex (PR) in a variety of behavioral tasks and disease processes. Studies from our laboratory revealed that some layers of PR contain neurons with unusual properties. Here we report a detailed examination of the cellular neurobiology of layer VI of PR, using whole-cell recordings and biocytin cell fills in horizontal rat brain slices. The most striking finding is that an overwhelming majority ( approximately 86%) of neurons are late-spiking (LS) cells, which can delay the onset of their spike trains by several seconds or more relative to the onset of a depolarizing current step. LS neurons previously have been shown to exist only in very small numbers in a limited number of other cortical regions. Anatomical reconstructions have revealed that the LS neurons vary greatly in morphology, including both pyramidal and nonpyramidal cells. Another surprising physiological finding is the fact that single-spiking (SS) neurons are the second most common cell type ( approximately 7%). SS neurons issue only a single action potential even in response to extreme depolarization. They have been seen previously in the amygdala, but never in cortex. A third remarkable finding is that there are almost no regular spiking (RS) neurons, unlike all other cortical regions that have been studied. This unique abundance of LS neurons in layer VI, along with the presence of SS neurons and the absence of RS neurons, demonstrates that layer VI of PR is unlike any other cortical region that has been studied to date.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Aging / physiology
  • Animals
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Lysine / analogs & derivatives
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Video
  • Neurons / classification
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Parahippocampal Gyrus / cytology
  • Parahippocampal Gyrus / physiology*
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Sensory Thresholds / physiology


  • biocytin
  • Lysine