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Spontaneous persistent activity in entorhinal cortex modulates cortico-hippocampal interaction in vivo

Abstract

Persistent activity is thought to mediate working memory during behavior. Can it also occur during sleep? We found that the membrane potential of medial entorhinal cortex layer III (MECIII) neurons, a gateway between neocortex and hippocampus, showed spontaneous, stochastic persistent activity in vivo in mice during Up-Down state oscillations (UDS). This persistent activity was locked to the neocortical Up states with a short delay, but persisted over several cortical UDS cycles. Lateral entorhinal neurons did not show substantial persistence, and current injections similar to those used in vitro failed to elicit persistence in vivo, implicating network mechanisms. Hippocampal CA1 neurons' spiking activity was reduced during neocortical Up states, but was increased during MECIII persistent states. These results provide, to the best of our knowledge, the first direct evidence for persistent activity in MECIII neurons in vivo and reveal its contribution to cortico-hippocampal interaction that could be involved in working memory and learning of long behavioral sequences during behavior, and memory consolidation during sleep.

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Figure 1: Spontaneous persistent activity in MECIII, but not LECIII, neurons.
Figure 2: Differential delays of MECIII Up and Down transitions relative to neocortical UDS.
Figure 3: Quantization of MECIII persistent Up state durations in units of neocortical UDS.
Figure 4: Examples of MECIII persistent Up states during natural sleep.
Figure 5: Differential influence of neocortical and MECIII UDS on CA1 activity.
Figure 6: Temporal relationship of MECIII persistent Up states and CA1 activity.
Figure 7: Stochastic mechanism for MECIII persistent Up states and their influence on cortico-entorhinal-hippocampal responses during UDS oscillations.

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Acknowledgements

We thank T. Fucke for extensive support with experiments. J.M.M. and M.R.M. were supported by the Whitehall Foundation, a National Science Foundation career award and the W.M. Keck Foundation. T.T.G.H. and S.B. were supported by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF grants 01GQ1007 and 01GQ1003B), and supported by the Max Planck Society and the group of A. Schäfer at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research. All of the authors were supported by NIH-BMBF-CRCNS grant 5R01MH092925-02 to M.R.M.

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T.T.G.H., J.M.M. and M.R.M. designed the study, T.T.G.H. and S.B. performed the experiments, and J.M.M. performed the data analysis. M.R.M. participated in all aspects of the study. All of the authors contributed to the writing of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Mayank R Mehta.

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Hahn, T., McFarland, J., Berberich, S. et al. Spontaneous persistent activity in entorhinal cortex modulates cortico-hippocampal interaction in vivo. Nat Neurosci 15, 1531–1538 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.3236

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