Piriform cortex efferents to the entorhinal cortex in vivo: kindling-induced potentiation and the enhancement of long-term potentiation by low-frequency piriform cortex or medial septal stimulation
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The entorhinal cortex receives input from many cortical areas and mediates the flow of information between these sites and the hippocampal formation. Long-term synaptic plasticity in cortical efferents to the entorhinal cortex may contribute to the transmission of neural activity to the hippocampus, as well as the storage of information, but little is known about plasticity in these pathways. We describe here the use of evoked field potential recordings from chronically implanted electrodes in the rat entorhinal cortex to investigate synaptic plasticity in the large piriform (olfactory) cortex projection to the superficial layers of the entorhinal cortex. Both kindling-induced potentiation and long-term potentiation (LTP) were tested. In addition, we attempted to modulate LTP induction by the co-induction of frequency potentiation and by the co-activation of the medial septum. Epileptogenic kindling stimulations of the piriform cortex (1-s, 60-Hz trains 3 times/day for 5 days) were found to result in a reliable potentiation of field responses evoked by piriform cortex test pulses. Non-epileptogenic tetanization of the piriform cortex with 400-Hz 16-pulse trains reliably resulted in LTP effects. These effects could be augmented by embedding brief LTP induction stimuli within 11-pulse, 15-Hz trains that alone produce only frequency potentiation. Co-activating the medial septum with 10-Hz trains, just prior to tetanization of the piriform cortex, augmented LTP of piriform cortex inputs to the entorhinal cortex in an input-specific manner. All potentiation effects were found to last for periods of weeks. These findings demonstrate that both epileptogenic and non-epileptogenic piriform cortex stimulation induces lasting potentiation of population field responses in the entorhinal cortex of the awake rat. The LTP effects were inducible in a graded manner and were sensitive to the temporal context of stimulation. The finding that low-frequency activation of the septum can enhance plasticity in the entorhinal cortex adds to a body of data indicating a role for the medial septum in contributing to theta activity and plasticity in both the entorhinal cortex and hippocampal formation.
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