The hippocampus sends efferent fibers to the subiculum, which projects to the entorinal cortex. Previous studies suggest that the hippocampal CA1 area may receive a projection back from the subiculum. This hypothesis was tested using whole cell recording from CA1 pyramidal cells while subicular neurons were selectively stimulated with focal flash photolysis of caged glutamate, which avoids stimulation of fibers of passage. Control experiments showed that focal flash stimulations caused direct glutamate-mediated depolarizations and bursts of action potentials in the recorded CA1 pyramidal cells, but only when the stimulation targeted the somatodendritic regions of a neuron, not the axons. To block GABAA-mediated inhibition and isolate local excitatory circuits, bicuculline was applied to minislices containing only the isolated CA1 area and the subiculum. Of 24 CA1 pyramidal cells, 25% (6 of 24) consistently generated repetitive excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) in response to flash stimulation in the subiculum. The responsive neurons were located 200-500 μm from the distal end of CA1 and 400-1,100 μm from the stimulation sites in subiculum, suggesting excitatory synaptic projections from the subicular neurons to CA1 pyramidal cells. This study provides new electrophysiological evidence that CA1 pyramidal cells receive excitatory synaptic input from the subiculum. Thus a reciprocal excitatory synaptic circuit connects the subiculum and the CA1 area in the normal adult rat.
ASJC Scopus subject areas