Effect of age on burst firing characteristics of rat hippocampal pyramidal cells

Anne C. Smith, Jason L. Gerrard, Carol A. Barnes, Bruce L. McNaughton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


During behavior, hippocampal pyramidal cells emit high frequency bursts, modulated by the animal's location and the 7 Hz theta rhythm. During rest, CAI EEG exhibits large irregular activity (LIA), containing sharp-wave/ripple complexes, during which pyramidal cells exhibit burst discharge. Aging results in altered intracellular calcium homeostasis, increased electrical coupling and reduced cholinergic modulation within CAI, all of which might affect burst discharge characteristics. During LIA, old rats exhibited more short (3-7 ms) inter-spike intervals, with no change in mean firing rate. During behavior induced theta rhythm, however, interval distributions were not affected by age. Thus, different mechanisms must underlie burst discharge in theta and LIA states. Moreover, age related changes in the cholinergic system appear not to play a major role in shaping the temporal discharge characteristics of CAI pyramidal cells. The mechanism and significance of the higher frequency bursting in old rats during LIA remains to be determined. (C) 2000 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3865-3871
Number of pages7
Issue number17
StatePublished - Nov 27 2000


  • CAI
  • Interspike interval
  • Neural ensembles
  • Sharp waves
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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