Target-specific output patterns are predicted by the distribution of regular-spiking and bursting pyramidal neurons in the subiculum

Hippocampus. 2012 Apr;22(4):693-706. doi: 10.1002/hipo.20931. Epub 2011 Apr 27.


Pyramidal neurons in the subiculum project to a variety of cortical and subcortical areas in the brain to convey information processed in the hippocampus. Previous studies have shown that two groups of subicular pyramidal neurons--regular-spiking and bursting neurons--are distributed in an organized fashion along the proximal-distal axis, with more regular-spiking neurons close to CA1 (proximal) and more bursting neurons close to presubiculum (distal). Anatomically, neurons projecting to some targets are located more proximally along this axis, while others are located more distally. However, the relationship between the firing properties and the targets of subicular pyramidal neurons is not known. To study this relationship, we used in vivo injections of retrogradely transported fluorescent beads into each of nine different regions and conducted whole-cell current-clamp recordings from the bead-containing subicular neurons in acute brain slices. We found that subicular projections to each area were composed of a mixture of regular-spiking and bursting neurons. Neurons projecting to amygdala, lateral entorhinal cortex, nucleus accumbens, and medial/ventral orbitofrontal cortex were located primarily in the proximal subiculum and consisted mostly of regular-spiking neurons (∼80%). By contrast, neurons projecting to medial EC, presubiculum, retrosplenial cortex, and ventromedial hypothalamus were located primarily in the distal subiculum and consisted mostly of bursting neurons (∼80%). Neurons projecting to a thalamic nucleus were located in the middle portion of subiculum, and their probability of bursting was close to 50%. Thus, the fraction of bursting neurons projecting to each target region was consistent with the known distribution of regular-spiking and bursting neurons along the proximal-distal axis of the subiculum. Variation in the distribution of regular-spiking and bursting neurons suggests that different types of information are conveyed from the subiculum to its various targets.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Biophysical Phenomena
  • CA1 Region, Hippocampal / cytology
  • CA1 Region, Hippocampal / physiology
  • CA3 Region, Hippocampal / cytology
  • CA3 Region, Hippocampal / physiology
  • Efferent Pathways / cytology
  • Efferent Pathways / physiology
  • Electrophysiological Phenomena
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Male
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar