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Hippocampal CA3 area generates temporally structured network activity such as sharp waves and gamma and theta oscillations. Parvalbumin-expressing basket cells, making GABAergic synapses onto cell bodies and proximal dendrites of pyramidal cells, control pyramidal cell activity and participate in network oscillations in slice preparations, but their roles in vivo remain to be tested. We have recorded the spike timing of parvalbumin-expressing basket cells in areas CA2/3 of anesthetized rats in relation to CA3 putative pyramidal cell firing and activity locally and in area CA1. During theta oscillations, CA2/3 basket cells fired on the same phase as putative pyramidal cells, but, surprisingly, significantly later than downstream CA1 basket cells. This indicates a distinct modulation of CA3 and CA1 pyramidal cells by basket cells, which receive different inputs. We observed unexpectedly large dendritic arborization of CA2/3 basket cells in stratum lacunosum moleculare (33% of length, 29% surface, and 24% synaptic input from a total of ∼35,000), different from the dendritic arborizations of CA1 basket cells. Area CA2/3 basket cells fired phase locked to both CA2/3 and CA1 gamma oscillations, and increased firing during CA1 sharp waves, thus supporting the role of CA3 networks in the generation of gamma oscillations and sharp waves. However, during ripples associated with sharp waves, firing of CA2/3 basket cells was phase locked only to local but not CA1 ripples, suggesting the independent generation of fast oscillations by basket cells in CA1 and CA2/3. The distinct spike timing of basket cells during oscillations in CA1 and CA2/3 suggests differences in synaptic inputs paralleled by differences in dendritic arborizations.

Original publication




Journal article


J Neurosci

Publication Date





6809 - 6825


Action Potentials, Animals, Biological Clocks, Biotin, CA3 Region, Hippocampal, Calbindins, Dendrites, Functional Laterality, In Vitro Techniques, Male, Microscopy, Electron, Transmission, Neurons, Parvalbumins, Rats, Rats, Sprague-Dawley, Receptors, GABA-A, S100 Calcium Binding Protein G, Synapses