Firing properties of entorhinal cortex neurons and early alterations in an Alzheimer's disease transgenic model
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The entorhinal cortex (EC) is divided into medial (MEC) and lateral (LEC) anatomical areas, and layer II neurons of these two regions project to granule cells of the dentate gyrus through the medial and lateral perforant pathways (MPP and LPP), respectively. Stellate cells (SCs) represent the main neurons constituting the MPP inputs, while fan cells (FCs) represent the main LPP inputs. Here, we first characterized the excitability properties of SCs and FCs in adult wild-type (WT) mouse brain. Our data indicate that, during sustained depolarization, action potentials (APs) generated by SCs exhibit increased fast afterhyperpolarization and overshoot, making them able to fire at higher frequencies and to exhibit higher spike frequency adaptation (SFA) than FCs. Since the EC is one of the earliest brain regions affected during Alzheimer's disease (AD) progression, we compared SCs and FCs firing in 4-month-old WT and transgenic Tg2576 mice, a well-established AD mouse model. Tg2576-SCs displayed a slight increase in firing frequency during mild depolarization but otherwise normal excitability properties during higher stimulations. On the contrary, Tg2576-FCs exhibited a decreased firing frequency during mild and higher depolarizations, as well as an increased SFA. Our data identify the FCs as a neuronal population particularly sensitive to early pathological effects of chronic accumulation of APP-derived peptides, as it occurs in Tg2576 mice. As FCs represent the major input of sensory information to the hippocampus during memory acquisition, early alterations in their excitability profile could significantly contribute to the onset of cognitive decline in AD.
KeywordsAction potentials Stellate cells Fan cells Alzheimer's disease Tg2576 mice
This work was financed by the ATIP/AVENIR program (Centre National de la RechercheScientifique, CNRS) to HM, by the French Fondation pour la Coopération Scientifique—Plan Alzheimer 2008–2012 (Senior Innovative Grant 2010) to HM, by the EFR to AM and by the Euro-Mediterranean PRES project (2013) to AM.
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