Different patterns of synaptic transmission revealed between hippocampal CA3 stratum oriens and stratum lucidum interneurons and their pyramidal cell targets

Neuroscience. 2003;117(1):169-81. doi: 10.1016/s0306-4522(02)00832-1.


Stratum lucidum (SL) interneurons likely mediate feedforward inhibition between the dentate gyrus mossy fibers and CA3 pyramidal cells, while stratum oriens (SO) interneurons likely provide both feedforward and feedback inhibition within the CA3 commissural/associational network. Using dual whole-cell patch-clamp recordings between interneurons and CA3 pyramidal cells, we have examined SL and SO interneurons and their synapses within organotypic hippocampal slice cultures. Biocytin staining revealed different morphologies between these interneuron groups, both being very similar to those found previously in acute slices. The kinetics of IPSCs were similar between the two groups, but the reliability of synaptic transmission of SL interneuron (SL-INT) IPSCs was significantly lower than the virtually 100% reliability (non-existent failure rates) of SO-INT IPSCs. The SL-INT IPSCs also had a lower quantal content than the SO-INT IPSCs. In addition, SL-INTs were less likely than SO-INTs to innervate or to be innervated by nearby CA3 pyramidal cells. Paired-pulse stimulation at 100 ms interstimulus intervals produced similar paired-pulse depression in both interneuron synapses, despite the significantly higher failure rate of IPSCs produced by the SL-INTs compared with SO-INTs. CV analysis supported the hypothesis that paired-pulse depression was presynaptic. During repetitive, high frequency stimulation (>10 Hz for 500 ms) the two different synapses exhibited distinctly different forms of short-term plasticity: all SL interneurons displayed significant short-term facilitation (mean 113% facilitation, n=4), while, by contrast, SO interneuron synapses displayed either short-term depression (mean 42% depression, n=5 of 8) or no net facilitation or depression (n=3 of 8). These results indicate that the synaptic properties of interneurons can be quite different for interneurons in different hippocampal circuits.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • Interneurons / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*