Distinct patterns of dentate gyrus cell activation distinguish physiologic from aberrant stimuli

Jason C. You, Kavitha Muralidharan, Chia-Hsuan Fu, Jin Park, Umberto Tosi, Xiaohong Zhang, Jeannie Chin, Giuseppe Biagini
2020 PLoS ONE  
Under physiologic conditions, the dentate gyrus (DG) exhibits exceptionally low levels of activity compared to other brain regions. A sparse activation pattern is observed even when the DG is engaged to process new information; for example, only ~1-3% of neurons in the DG granule cell layer (GCL) are activated after placing animals in a novel, enriched environment. Moreover, such physiologic stimulation of GCL neurons recruits young granule cells more readily than older cells. This sparse
more » ... n of cell activation has largely been attributed to intrinsic circuit properties of the DG, such as reduced threshold for activation in younger cells, and increased inhibition onto older cells. Given these intrinsic properties, we asked whether such activation of young granule cells was unique to physiologic stimulation, or could be elicited by general pharmacological activation of the hippocampus. We found that administration of kainic acid (KA) at a low dose (5 mg/kg) to wildtype C57BL/6 mice activated a similarly sparse number of cells in the GCL as physiologic DG stimulation by exposure to a novel, enriched environment. However, unlike physiologic stimulation, 5 mg/kg KA activated primarily old granule cells as well as GABAergic interneurons. This finding indicates that intrinsic circuit properties of the DG alone may not be sufficient to support the engagement of young granule cells, and suggest that other factors such as the specificity of the pattern of inputs, may be involved.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0232241 pmid:32407421 fatcat:lzbcvqxgvbe3fdauoorabxmf5a