Enhanced burst discharges in the CA1 area of the immature versus adult hippocampus: patterns and cellular mechanisms

Li Rong Shao, F. Edward Dudek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Burst discharges in the immature brain may contribute to its enhanced seizure susceptibility. The cellular mechanisms underlying burst discharges in the CA1 area of the immature versus adult hippocampus were investigated with simultaneous whole-cell and field-potential recordings. When GABAA receptors were blocked pharmacologically, bursts in CA1 were either graded or all-or-none (or mixed) as a function of electrical stimulation intensity. Most CA1 minislices from immature rats displayed all-or-none or mixed bursts, whereas the slices from adult rats predominantly elicited graded bursts. The frequency and amplitude of spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents (sEPSCs) were greater in CA1 pyramidal cells from the immature than the adult slices. The developmental differences in CA1 bursting were also detected in slices adjusted for maturational changes in brain volume (i.e., 350 mm thick for immature vs. 450 mm thick for adult rats). Neither N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) nor group I metabotropic glutamate (mGlu1) receptor antagonists blocked the network-driven bursts in immature CA1, but an a-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptor blocker abolished them. Robust excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) occurred after bursts in some immature CA1 slices (23%) but never in slices from the adult. The input-output (amount of current injected vs. number of action potentials generated) relationship was markedly greater in CA1 pyramidal cells in the immature compared with the adult hippocampus. These data suggest that the CA1 area of the immature brain is capable of generating network-driven bursts, which declines in adult rats. The increased propensity of burst generation in immature CA1 appears to involve a greater AMPA receptor-mediated synaptic network and an increased intrinsic spike-generating ability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1566-1577
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • bursting
  • developing brain
  • hippocampus
  • patch clamp
  • seizure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • General Neuroscience


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