Autaptic cultures of single hippocampal granule cells of mice and rats


  • B.R. Rost
  • J. Breustedt
  • A. Schoenherr
  • G. Grosse
  • G. Ahnert-Hilger
  • D. Schmitz


  • European Journal of Neuroscience


  • Eur J Neurosci 32 (6): 939-947


  • When a single neuron is grown on a small island of glial cells, the neuron forms synapses onto itself. The so-called autaptic culture systems have proven extremely valuable in elucidating basic mechanisms of synaptic transmission, as they allow application of technical approaches that cannot be used in slice preparations. However, this method has been almost exclusively used for pyramidal cells and interneurons. In this study, we generated autaptic cultures from granule cells isolated from the dentate gyrus of rodent hippocampi. Our subsequent morphological and functional characterisation of these cells confirms that this culture model is suitable for investigating basic mechanisms of granule cell synaptic transmission. Importantly, the autosynaptic connectivity allows recordings of pure mossy fibre miniature EPSCs, which are not possible in slice preparations. Further, by fast application of hypertonic sucrose solutions it is possible to directly measure the readily releasable pool and to calculate the probability of vesicular release.