Organotypic cultured slices of the rat hippocampus undergo synaptic reorganization. Besides the establishment of reciprocal connections between area CA1 and the dentate gyrus (DG), collateral excitatory connections between granule cells are formed which are similar to those appearing in several epilepsy models and in the DG from patients with temporal lobe epilepsy. We studied the characteristics of epileptiform activity induced by low Mg2+ perfusion in cultured hippocampal slices using extra- and intracellular recordings. With low Mg2+ perfusion synchronous seizure like events (SLEs) were readily observed in the DG and areas CA3 and CA1. Also, the isolated DG was able to display seizure like activity. Intracellular recordings revealed long lasting depolarization shifts in granule cells of the DG and pyramidal cells of areas CA3 and CA1. The SLEs, lasting 2-3 s, could be recorded for at least 3 h in areas CA1 and CA3. However, approximately an hour after perfusion with low Mg2+, the epileptiform activity disappeared in the DG and responses to single pulse hilar stimulation progressively deteriorated. These responses returned to control values 1 week after reincubating the cultures. Interestingly, no deterioration of stimulus induced responses was observed in the isolated DG after exposure to low Mg2+.
Copyright 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.