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Neural dynamics in cortex-striatum co-cultures: 2. Spatiotemporal characteristics of neuronal activity

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D, P., & A, A. (1996). Neural dynamics in cortex-striatum co-cultures: 2. Spatiotemporal characteristics of neuronal activity. Neuroscience, 70(4), 893-924. doi:10.1016/0306-4522(95)00405-X.

Neural dynamics in organotypic cortex-striatum co-cultures grown for three to six weeks under conditions of dopamine deficiency are described. Single neuron activities were recorded intra- and extracellularly, and spatiotemporal spreading of population activity was mapped using voltage-sensitive dyes. The temporal properties of spike firing were characterized by interspike interval histograms, autocorrelation and crosscorrelation. Cortical pyramidal neurons (n = 40) showed irregular firing with a weak tendency to burst or to oscillate. Crosscorrelations revealed strong near-coincident firing and synaptic interactions. Disinhibition was a notable feature in a strongly firing cortical interneuron. Cortical activity spread in the co-culture, thus inducing an overall, homogeneous depolarization in the striatal part. Striatal cells were divided into principal cells and type I and II secondary cells. Principal cells (n = 40) were similar to those reported previously in vivo. Spiking activity ranged from irregular spiking at very low rates to episodic bursting, with an average burst duration of 1 s. Interspike intervals were single-peaked. Intracellular recordings revealed characteristic, long-lasting subthreshold depolarizations (“enabled state”) that were shortened by local muscarinic receptor blockade. During prolonged time periods in the “enabled state”, locally applied bicuculline induced strong firing in most principal neurons. Striatal secondary type I neurons (n = 25) showed high spiking rates, single- and double-peaked interval histograms and low-threshold, short-lasting stereotyped bursting activity and occasional rhythmic bursting. The firing of these neurons was increased by bicuculline. Crosscorrelations showed synchronization of these cells with principal cell activity. Secondary type II neurons (n = 15) revealed tonic, irregular firing patterns similar to cortical neurons, except with occasional firing in doublet spikes. We conclude that under conditions of dopamine deficiency in corticostriatal co-cultures (i) the cortex induces the “enabled” state and typical bursting mode in striatal principal neurons; (ii) principal neurons are strongly inhibited during the “enabled” state; (iii) muscarinic activity, presumably from tonically active striatal cholinergic interneurons, stabilizes the “enabled” state; (iv) striatal GABAergic interneurons receive synaptic inhibition and take part in synchronized activity among striatal principal cells. Our results favor the view of the striatum as a lateral inhibition network.