Interconnection and synchronization of neuronal populations in the mouse medial septum/diagonal band of Broca

J Neurophysiol. 2015 Feb 1;113(3):971-80. doi: 10.1152/jn.00367.2014. Epub 2014 Nov 12.


The medial septum/diagonal band of Broca (MS/DBB) is crucial for hippocampal theta rhythm generation (4-12 Hz). However, the mechanisms behind theta rhythmogenesis are still under debate. The MS/DBB consists, in its majority, of three neuronal populations that use acetylcholine, GABA, or glutamate as neurotransmitter. While the firing patterns of septal neurons enable the MS/DBB to generate rhythmic output critical for the generation of the hippocampal theta rhythm, the ability to synchronize these action potentials is dependent on the interconnectivity between the three major MS/DBB neuronal populations, yet little is known about intraseptal connections. Here we assessed the connectivity between pairs of MS/DBB neurons with paired patch-clamp recordings. We found that glutamatergic and GABAergic neurons provide intraseptal connections and produce sizable currents in MS/DBB postsynaptic cells. We also analyzed linear and nonlinear relationships between the action potentials fired by pairs of neurons belonging to various MS/DBB neuronal populations. Our results show that while the synchrony index for action potential firing was significantly higher in pairs of GABAergic neurons, coherence of action potential firing in the theta range was similarly low in all pairs analyzed. Recurrence analysis demonstrated that individual action potentials were more recurrent in cholinergic neurons than in other cell types. Implementing sparse connectivity in a computer model of the MS/DBB network reproduced our experimental data. We conclude that the interplay between the intrinsic membrane properties of different MS/DBB neuronal populations and the connectivity among these populations underlie the ability of the MS/DBB network to critically contribute to hippocampal theta rhythmogenesis.

Keywords: GABAergic neuron; cholinergic neuron; glutamatergic neuron; medial septum; synchronization; theta rhythm.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials*
  • Animals
  • Cholinergic Neurons / physiology*
  • Diagonal Band of Broca / cytology
  • Diagonal Band of Broca / physiology*
  • Female
  • GABAergic Neurons / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Septum of Brain / cytology
  • Septum of Brain / physiology*
  • Synapses / physiology
  • Theta Rhythm