Electrophysiology of dentate gyrus granule cells

J Neurophysiol. 1984 Feb;51(2):195-209. doi: 10.1152/jn.1984.51.2.195.


The orthodromic synaptic responses, membrane properties, and responses of dentate gyrus granule cells (DGCs) to several convulsant agents were studied in the in vitro hippocampal slice preparation. Orthodromic stimulation via the perforant pathway (PP) evoked excitatory-inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (EPSP-IPSP) sequences in 27 of 34 DGCs studied. In the majority, only one action potential could be evoked by supramaximal orthodromic stimulation. In recordings from DGC somata, overshooting spikes could be evoked either orthodromically or by current injections. Small-amplitude, fast transients were seen in 5 of 34 DGCs. The current/voltage (I-V) characteristic of most DGCs was linear throughout a range of membrane potentials between 15 and 20 mV negative and 5 and 15 mV positive to the resting potential. At the extremes of this range nonohmic behavior was noted. Exposure of slices to agents that block IPSPs, such as penicillin, bicuculline, picrotoxin, and media containing low Cl- concentrations, eliminated PP-evoked hyperpolarizations in DGCs and prolonged the repolarizing phase of the PP EPSP. In contrast to findings in hippocampal pyramidal cells and neocortical neurons, blockade of IPSPs did not lead to the development of orthodromically evoked slow depolarizations and burst discharges. After slices were exposed to 5 mM tetraethylammonium, current pulses evoked slow spikes, which were resistant to tetrodotoxin and presumably mediated by Ca2+. Spontaneous burst discharges or bursts evoked by brief depolarizing pulses did not occur under these conditions. Substitution of Ba2+ for Ca2+ in the perfusion solution resulted in development of spontaneous slow membrane depolarizations and burst discharges in DGCs. Burst discharges could be directly evoked and spikes were prolonged and resistant to tetrodotoxin (TTX). After hyperpolarizations lasting 200-1,000 ms, associated with a conductance increase and presumably due to a Ca2+-activated K+ conductance, followed directly evoked spike trains in 5 of 20 DGCs. These data suggest that Ca2+ conductances may be evoked in DGCs under certain circumstances but are not prominent during activation of DGCs under standard in vitro recording conditions.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Barium / pharmacology
  • Cell Membrane / physiology
  • Dendrites / physiology
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electrophysiology
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Granulocytes / drug effects
  • Granulocytes / physiology
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Neural Inhibition
  • Tetraethylammonium
  • Tetraethylammonium Compounds / pharmacology


  • Tetraethylammonium Compounds
  • Barium
  • Tetraethylammonium