Dependence of Generation of Hippocampal CA1 Slow Oscillations on Electrical Synapses

Yuan Xu1 • Feng-Yan Shen2 • Yu-Zhang Liu1 • Lidan Wang1 • Ying-Wei Wang2 • Zhiru Wang 1

1 Institute and Key Laboratory of Brain Functional Genomics of The Chinese Ministry of Education, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Brain Functional Genomics, School of Life Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China

2 Department of Anesthesiology, Huashan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai 200040, China


Neuronal oscillations in the hippocampus are critical for many brain functions including learning and memory. The underlying mechanism of oscillation generation has been extensively investigated in terms of chemical synapses and ion channels. Recently, electrical synapses have also been indicated to play important roles, as reported in various brain areas in vivo and in brain slices. However, this issue remains to be further clarified, including in hippocampal networks. Here, using the completely isolated hippocampus, we investigated in vitro the effect of electrical synapses on slow CA1 oscillations (0.5 Hz–1.5 Hz) generated intrinsically by the hippocampus. We found that these oscillations were totally abolished by bath application of a general blocker of gap junctions (carbenoxolone) or a specific blocker of electrical synapses (mefloquine), as determined by whole-cell recordings in both CA1 pyramidal cells and fast-spiking cells. Our findings indicate that electrical synapses are required for the hippocampal generation of slow CA1 oscillations.


Electrical synapse; Hippocampus; Oscillation; CA1; Mefloquine; Carbenoxolone


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