HCN1 channels control resting and active integrative properties of stellate cells from layer II of the entorhinal cortex.
Fast oscillations at 25-80 Hz (gamma activity) have been proposed to play a role in attention-related mechanisms and synaptic plasticity in cortical structures. Recently, it has been demonstrated that the preservation of the entorhinal cortex is necessary to maintain gamma oscillations in the hippocampus. Because gamma activity can be reproduced in vitro by cholinergic activation, this study examined the characteristics of gamma oscillations induced by arterial perfusion or local intracortical injections of carbachol in the entorhinal cortex of the in vitro isolated guinea pig brain preparation. Shortly after carbachol administration, fast oscillatory activity at 25.2-28.2 Hz was observed in the medial but not in the lateral entorhinal cortex. Such activity was transiently associated with oscillations in the theta range that showed a variable pattern of distribution in the entorhinal cortex. No oscillatory activity was observed when carbachol was injected in the lateral entorhinal cortex. Gamma activity in the medial entorhinal cortex showed a phase reversal at 200-400 microm, had maximal amplitude at 400-500 microm depth, and was abolished by arterial perfusion of atropine (5 microM). Local carbachol application in the medial entorhinal cortex induced gamma oscillations in the hippocampus, whereas no oscillations were observed in the amygdala and in the piriform, periamygdaloid, and perirhinal cortices ipsilateral and contralateral to the carbachol injection. Hippocampal oscillations had higher frequency than the gamma activity recorded in the entorhinal cortex, suggesting the presence of independent generators in the two structures. The selective ability of the medial but not the lateral entorhinal cortex to generate gamma activity in response to cholinergic activation suggests a differential mode of signal processing in entorhinal cortex subregions.