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Functional connections and epileptic spread between hippocampus, entorhinal cortex and amygdala in a modified horizontal slice preparation of the rat brain
European Journal of Neuroscience
The hippocampus, the entorhinal cortex and the amygdala are interconnected structures of the limbic system that are implicated in memory and emotional behaviour. They demonstrate synaptic plasticity and are susceptible to development of temporal lobe epilepsy, which may lead to emotional and psychological disturbances. Their relative anatomical disposition has limited the study of neurotransmission and epileptic spread between these three regions in previous in vitro preparations. Here we describe a novel, modified-horizontal slice preparation that includes in the same plane the hippocampus, entorhinal cortex and amygdala. We found that, following application of bicuculline, each region in our preparation could generate spontaneous bursts that resembled epileptic interictal spikes. This spontaneous activity initiated in the hippocampal CA3/2 region, from where it propagated and controlled the activity in the entorhinal cortex and the amygdala. We found that this spontaneous bursting activity could spread via two different pathways. The first pathway comprises the well-known subiculum-entorhinal cortex-perirhinal cortex-amygdala route. The second pathway consists of a direct connection between the CA1 region and perirhinal cortex, through which the hippocampal bursting activity can spread to the amygdala while bypassing the entorhinal cortex. Thus, our experiments provide a new in vitro model of initiation and spread of epileptic-like activity in the ventral part of the limbic system, which includes a novel, fast and functional connection between the CA1 region and perirhinal cortex.
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