Reduced chemical and electrical connections of fast-spiking interneurons in experimental cortical dysplasia

J Neurophysiol. 2014 Sep 15;112(6):1277-90. doi: 10.1152/jn.00126.2014. Epub 2014 Jun 18.


Aberrant neural connections are regarded as a principal factor contributing to epileptogenesis. This study examined chemical and electrical connections between fast-spiking (FS), parvalbumin (PV)-immunoreactive (FS-PV) interneurons and regular-spiking (RS) neurons (pyramidal neurons or spiny stellate neurons) in a rat model of prenatal irradiation-induced cortical dysplasia. Presynaptic action potentials were evoked by current injection and the elicited unitary inhibitory or excitatory postsynaptic potentials (uIPSPs or uEPSPs) were recorded in the postsynaptic cell. In dysplastic cortex, connection rates between presynaptic FS-PV interneurons and postsynaptic RS neurons and FS-PV interneurons, and uIPSP amplitudes were significantly smaller than controls, but both failure rates and coefficient of variation of uIPSP amplitudes were larger than controls. In contrast, connection rates from RS neurons to FS-PV interneurons and uEPSPs amplitude were similar in the two groups. Assessment of the paired pulse ratio showed a significant decrease in synaptic release probability at FS-PV interneuronal terminals, and the density of terminal boutons on axons of biocytin-filled FS-PV interneurons was also decreased, suggesting presynaptic dysfunction in chemical synapses formed by FS-PV interneurons. Electrical connections were observed between FS-PV interneurons, and the connection rates and coupling coefficients were smaller in dysplastic cortex than controls. In dysplastic cortex, we found a reduced synaptic efficiency for uIPSPs originating from FS-PV interneurons regardless of the type of target cell, and impaired electrical connections between FS-PV interneurons. This expands our understanding of the fundamental impairment of inhibition in this model and may have relevance for certain types of human cortical dysplasia.

Keywords: epilepsy; inhibition; irradiation; neocortex; regular spiking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Electrical Synapses / physiology*
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials*
  • Inhibitory Postsynaptic Potentials
  • Interneurons / physiology*
  • Male
  • Malformations of Cortical Development / physiopathology*
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley