Subthreshold membrane potential oscillations in neurons of deep layers of the entorhinal cortex


  • D. Schmitz
  • T. Gloveli
  • J. Behr
  • T. Dugladze
  • U. Heinemann


  • Neuroscience


  • Neuroscience 85 (4): 999-1004


  • Neuronal oscillations are important for information processing. The entorhinal cortex is one of the structures which is involved in generation of theta rhythm. The major role of the entorhinal cortex is to feed diverse sources of information both to and from the hippocampus. Far from simply being a funnel for this information it becomes clear that the entorhinal cortex has its own active properties that contribute to signal processing. Interestingly, stellate cells in layer II of the entorhinal cortex can intrinsically generate subthreshold, Na+-dependent membrane potential oscillations. Here, using intracellular and patch-clamp recordings, we report a similar phenomenon from neurons of the deep layers of the entorhinal cortex. In our in vitro slice preparation about two-thirds of recorded neurons were able to generate voltage-sensitive subthreshold membrane potential oscillations. At a membrane potential of about 50 mV the mean frequency of the voltage-oscillations was 8.1 Hz, whereby at slightly more positive potentials (-44 mV) the frequency of the membrane potential oscillations was 20 Hz and the oscillations became interrupted by clusters of non-adapting trains of spikes. Pharmacological experiments revealed that the oscillations were not affected by Cs+, but could be blocked by the fast Na+-channel blocker tetrodotoxin. We therefore conclude that voltage- and Na+-dependent subthreshold membrane potential oscillations are not only present in stellate cells of entorhinal cortex-layer II, but are also typical for neurons of the deep layers of the entorhinal cortex.