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Keywords:

  • development;
  • hippocampal slices;
  • inhibition;
  • mouse;
  • whole-cell recordings

Abstract

Neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus follows a unique temporal pattern that begins during embryonic development, peaks during the early postnatal stages and persists through adult life. We have recently shown that dentate granule cells born in early postnatal and adult mice acquire a remarkably similar afferent connectivity and firing behavior, suggesting that they constitute a homogeneous functional population [Laplagne et al. (2006)PLoS Biol., 4, e409]. Here we extend our previous study by comparing mature neurons born in the embryonic and adult hippocampus, with a focus on intrinsic membrane properties and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic synaptic inputs. For this purpose, dividing neuroblasts of the ventricular wall were retrovirally labeled with green fluorescent protein at embryonic day 15 (E15), and progenitor cells of the subgranular zone were labeled with red fluorescent protein in the same mice at postnatal day 42 (P42, adulthood). Electrophysiological properties of mature neurons born at either stage were then compared in the same brain slices. Evoked and spontaneous GABAergic postsynaptic responses of perisomatic and dendritic origin displayed similar characteristics in both neuronal populations. Miniature GABAergic inputs also showed similar functional properties and pharmacological profile. A comparative analysis of the present data with our previous observations rendered no significant differences among GABAergic inputs recorded from neurons born in the embryonic, early postnatal and adult mice. Yet, embryo-born neurons showed a reduced membrane excitability, suggesting a lower engagement in network activity. Our results demonstrate that granule cells of different age, location and degree of excitability receive GABAergic inputs of equivalent functional characteristics.