Synaptic and intrinsic responses of medical entorhinal cortical cells in normal and magnesium-free medium in vitro

J Neurophysiol. 1988 May;59(5):1476-96. doi: 10.1152/jn.1988.59.5.1476.


1. Extracellular recordings were made from slices of hippocampus plus parahippocampal regions maintained in vitro. Field potentials, recorded in the entorhinal cortex after stimulation in the subiculum, resembled those observed in vivo. 2. Washout of magnesium from the slices resulted in paroxysmal events which resembled those occurring during sustained seizures in vivo. These events were greatest in amplitude and duration in layers IV/V of the medial entorhinal cortex and could occur both spontaneously and in response to subicular stimulation. Spontaneous seizure-like events were not prevented by severing the connections between the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex, but much smaller and shorter events occurring in the dentate gyrus were stopped by this manipulation. Both spontaneous and evoked paroxysmal events were blocked by perfusion with the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist, DL-2-amino-5-phosphonovalerate (2-AP5). 3. Neurons in layers IV/V were characterized by intracellular recording. Injection of depolarizing current in most cells evoked a train of nondecrementing action potentials with only weak spike frequency accommodation and little or no posttrain after hyperpolarization. 4. A small number of cells displayed burst response when depolarized by positive current. The burst consisted of a slow depolarization with superimposed action potentials which decreased in amplitude and increased in duration during the discharge. The burst was terminated by a strong after hyperpolarization and thereafter, during prolonged current pulses a train of nondecrementing spikes occurred. The burst response remained if the cell was held at hyperpolarized levels but was inactivated by holding the cell at a depolarized level. 5. Depolarizing synaptic potentials could be evoked by stimulation in the subiculum. A delayed and prolonged depolarization clearly decremented with membrane hyperpolarization and, occasionally, increased with depolarization. 6. Washout of magnesium from the slices resulted in an enhancement of the late depolarization and a reversal of its voltage dependence. Eventually a single shock to the subiculum evoked a large all-or-none paroxysmal depolarization associated with a massive increase in membrane conductance. Similar events occurred spontaneously in all cells tested. The paroxysmal depolarizations, both spontaneous and evoked, were rapidly blocked by 2-AP5. 7. It is concluded that medial entorhinal cortical cells possess several intrinsic and synaptic properties which confer an extreme susceptibility to generation of sustained seizure activity.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 2-Amino-5-phosphonovalerate
  • Action Potentials / drug effects
  • Animals
  • Calcium / physiology
  • Cerebral Cortex / drug effects
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Evoked Potentials / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Magnesium / pharmacology
  • Magnesium / physiology*
  • Male
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Synapses / drug effects
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Valine / analogs & derivatives
  • Valine / pharmacology


  • 2-Amino-5-phosphonovalerate
  • Valine
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium