Oxygen glucose deprivation (OGD) leads to rapid suppression of synaptic transmission. Here we describe an emergence of rhythmic activity at 8 to 20 Hz in the CA3 subfield of hippocampal slice cultures occurring for a few minutes prior to the OGD-induced cessation of evoked responses. These oscillations, dominated by inhibitory events, represent network activity, as they were abolished by tetrodotoxin. They were also completely blocked by the GABAergic antagonist picrotoxin, and strongly reduced by the glutamatergic antagonist NBQX. Applying CPP to block NMDA receptors had no effect and neither did UBP302, an antagonist of GluK1-containing kainate receptors. The gap junction blocker mefloquine disrupted rhythmicity. Simultaneous whole-cell voltage-clamp recordings from neighboring or distant CA3 pyramidal cells revealed strong cross-correlation of the incoming rhythmic activity. Interneurons in the CA3 area received similar correlated activity. Interestingly, oscillations were much less frequently observed in the CA1 area. These data, together with the observation that the recorded activity consists primarily of inhibitory events, suggest that CA3 interneurons are important for generating these oscillations. This transient increase in inhibitory network activity during OGD may represent a mechanism contributing to the lower vulnerability to ischemic insults of the CA3 area as compared to the CA1 area.
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