Current source density analysis of the hippocampal theta rhythm: associated sustained potentials and candidate synaptic generators

Brain Res. 1993 Jul 2;615(2):310-27. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(93)90043-m.


Single-electrode depth profiles of the hippocampal EEG were made in urethane-anesthetized rats and rats trained in an alternating running/drinking task. Current source density (CSD) was computed from the voltage as a function of depth. A problem inherent to AC-coupled profiles was eliminated by incorporating sustained potential components of the EEG. 'AC' profiles force phasic current sinks to alternate with current sources at each lamina, changing the magnitude and even the sign of the computed membrane current. It was possible to include DC potentials in the profiles from anesthetized rats by using glass micropipettes for recording. A method of 'subtracting' profiles of the non-theta EEG from theta profiles was developed as an approach to including sustained potentials in recordings from freely-moving animals implanted with platinum electrodes. 'DC' profiles are superior to 'AC' profiles for analysis of EEG activity because 'DC'-CSD values can be considered correct in sign and more closely represent the actual membrane current magnitudes. Since hippocampal inputs are laminated, CSD analysis leads to straightforward predictions of the afferents involved. Theta-related activity in afferents from entorhinal neurons, hippocampal interneurons and ipsi- and contralateral hippocampal pyramids all appear to contribute to sources and sinks in CA1 and the dentate area. The largest theta-related generator was a sink at the fissure, having both phasic and tonic components. This sink may reflect activity in afferents from the lateral entorhinal cortex. The phase of the dentate mid-molecular sink suggests that medial entorhinal afferents drive the theta-related granule and pyramidal cell firing. The sustained components may be simply due to different average rates of firing during theta rhythm than during non-theta EEG in afferents whose firing rates are also phasically modulated.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Anesthesia
  • Animals
  • Electroencephalography / methods*
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Theta Rhythm*
  • Urethane


  • Urethane