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Keywords:

  • adaptation;
  • excitability;
  • head direction;
  • morphology;
  • postsubiculum

Abstract

The presubiculum, at the transition from the hippocampus to the cortex, is a key area for spatial information coding but the anatomical and physiological basis of presubicular function remains unclear. Here we correlated the structural and physiological properties of single neurons of the presubiculum in vitro. Unsupervised cluster analysis based on dendritic length and form, soma location, firing pattern and action potential properties allowed us to classify principal neurons into three major cell types. Cluster 1 consisted of a population of small regular spiking principal cells in layers II/III. Cluster 2 contained intrinsically burst firing pyramidal cells of layer IV, with a resting potential close to threshold. Cluster 3 included regular spiking cells of layers V and VI, and could be divided into subgroups 3.1 and 3.2. Cells of cluster 3.1 included pyramidal, multiform and inverted pyramidal cells. Cells of cluster 3.2 contained high-resistance pyramidal neurons that fired readily in response to somatic current injection. These data show that presubicular principal cells generally conform to neurons of the periarchicortex. However, the presence of intrinsic bursting cells in layer IV distinguishes the presubicular cortex from the neighbouring entorhinal cortex. The firing frequency adaptation was very low for principal cells of clusters 1 and 3, a property that should assist the generation of maintained head direction signals in vivo.