Interneurons in area CA1 stratum radiatum and stratum oriens remain functionally connected to excitatory synaptic input in chronically epileptic animals

J Neurophysiol. 1997 Sep;78(3):1504-15. doi: 10.1152/jn.1997.78.3.1504.


Past work has demonstrated a reduction of stimulus-evoked inhibitory input to hippocampal CA1 pyramidal cells in chronic models of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). It has been postulated that this reduction in inhibition results from impaired excitation of inhibitory interneurons. In this report, we evaluate the connectivity of area CA1 interneurons to their excitatory afferents in hippocampal-parahippocampal slices obtained from a rat model of chronic TLE. Rats were made chronically epileptic by a period of continuous electrical stimulation of the hippocampus, which establishes an acute condition of self-sustained limbic status epilepticus (SSLSE). This period of SSLSE is followed by a development of chronic recurrent spontaneous limbic seizures that are associated with chronic neuropathological changes reminiscent of those encountered in human TLE. Under visual control, whole cell patch-clamp recordings of interneurons and pyramidal cells were obtained in area CA1 of slices taken from adult, chronically epileptic post-SSLSE rats. Neurons were activated by means of electrodes positioned in stratum radiatum. Intrinsic membrane properties, including resting membrane potential, action potential (AP) threshold, AP half-height width, and membrane impedance, were unchanged in interneurons from chronically epileptic (post-SSLSE) tissue compared with control tissue. Single stimuli delivered to stratum radiatum evoked depolarizing excitatory postsynaptic potentials and APs in interneurons, whereas paired-pulse stimulation evoked facilitation of the postsynaptic current (PSC) in both control and post-SSLSE tissue. No differences between interneurons in control versus post-SSLSE tissue could be found with respect to the mean stimulus intensity or mean stimulus duration needed to evoke an AP. A multiple linear regression analysis over a range of stimulus intensities demonstrated that a greater number of APs could be evoked in interneurons in post-SSLSE tissue compared with control tissue. Spontaneous PSCs were observed in area CA1 interneurons in both control and post-SSLSE tissue and were markedly attenuated by glutamatergic antagonists. In conclusion, our data suggest that stimulus-evoked and spontaneous excitatory synaptic input to area CA1 interneurons remains functional in an animal model of chronic temporal lobe epilepsy. These findings suggest, therefore, that the apparent decrease of polysynaptic inhibitory PSPs in CA1 pyramidal cells in epileptic tissue is not due to a deficit in excitatory transmission from Schaffer collaterals to interneurons in stratum radiatum and straum oriens.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chronic Disease
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology*
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Interneurons / physiology*
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Synapses / physiology*