Dietary cholesterol modulates the excitability of rabbit hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons

Neurosci Lett. 2010 Aug 2;479(3):327-31. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2010.05.090.


Previous work has shown high dietary cholesterol can affect learning and memory including rabbit eyeblink conditioning and this effect may be due to increased membrane cholesterol and enhanced hippocampal amyloid beta production. This study investigated whether dietary cholesterol modulates rabbit hippocampal CA1 neuron membrane properties known to be involved in rabbit eyeblink conditioning. Whole-cell current clamp recordings in hippocampal neurons from rabbits fed 2 percent cholesterol or normal chow for 8 weeks revealed changes including decreased after-hyperpolarization amplitudes (AHPs) - an index of membrane excitability shown to be important for rabbit eyeblink conditioning. This index was reversed by adding copper to drinking water - a dietary manipulation that can retard rabbit eyeblink conditioning. Evidence of cholesterol effects on membrane excitability was provided by application of methyl-beta-cyclodextrin, a compound that reduces membrane cholesterol, which increased the excitability of hippocampal CA1 neurons.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CA1 Region, Hippocampal / drug effects*
  • CA1 Region, Hippocampal / physiology
  • Cell Membrane / drug effects
  • Cell Membrane / physiology
  • Cholesterol, Dietary / pharmacology*
  • Copper Sulfate / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Pyramidal Cells / drug effects*
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology
  • Rabbits
  • beta-Cyclodextrins / pharmacology


  • Cholesterol, Dietary
  • beta-Cyclodextrins
  • methyl-beta-cyclodextrin
  • Copper Sulfate