Contributions of Ih to feature selectivity in layer II stellate cells of the entorhinal cortex

J Comput Neurosci. 2007 Apr;22(2):161-71. doi: 10.1007/s10827-006-0005-7.


Abstract Stellate cells (SCs) of the entorhinal cortex generate prominent subthreshold oscillations that are believed to be important contributors to the hippocampal theta rhythm. The slow inward rectifier Ih is expressed prominently in SCs and has been suggested to be a dominant factor in their integrative properties. We studied the input-output relationships in stellate cells (SCs) of the entorhinal cortex, both in control conditions and in the presence of the Ih antagonist ZD7288. Our results show that Ih is responsible for SCs' subthreshold resonance, and contributes to enhanced spiking reliability to theta-rich stimuli. However, SCs still exhibit other traits of rhythmicity, such as subthreshold oscillations, under Ih blockade. To clarify the effects of Ih on SC spiking, we used a generalized form of principal component analysis to show that SCs select particular features with relevant temporal signatures from stimuli. The spike-selected mix of those features varies with the frequency content of the stimulus, emphasizing the inherent nonlinearity of SC responses. A number of controls confirmed that this selectivity represents a stimulus-induced change in the cellular input-output relationship rather than an artifact of the analysis technique. Sensitivity to slow features remained statistically significant in ZD7288. However, with Ih blocked, slow stimulus features were less predictive of spikes and spikes conveyed less information about the stimulus over long time scales. Together, these results suggest that Ih is an important contributor to the input-output relationships expressed by SCs, but that other factors in SCs also contribute to subthreshold oscillations and nonlinear selectivity to slow features.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / drug effects
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Electric Stimulation / methods
  • Entorhinal Cortex / cytology*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Ion Channels / drug effects
  • Ion Channels / physiology*
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Neurons / radiation effects
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques / methods
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Pyrimidines / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans


  • Ion Channels
  • Pyrimidines
  • ICI D2788