Propagation of epileptiform activity can be independent of synaptic transmission, gap junctions, or diffusion and is consistent with electrical field transmission

" The propagation of activity in neural tissue is generally associated with synaptic transmission, but epileptiform activity in the hippocampus can propagate with or without synaptic transmission at a speed of ∼0.1 m/s. This suggests an underlying common nonsynaptic mechanism for propagation. To study this mechanism, we developed a novel unfolded hippocampus preparation, from CD1 mice of either sex, which preserves the transverse and longitudinal connections and recorded activity with a penetrating microelectrode array. Experiments using synaptic transmission and gap junction blockers indicated that longitudinal propagation is independent of chemical or electrical synaptic transmission. Propagation speeds of 0.1 m/s are not compatible with ionic diffusion or pure axonal conduction. The only other means of communication between neurons is through electric fields. Computer simulations revealed that activity can indeed propagate from cell to cell solely through field effects. These results point to an unexpected propagation mechanism for neural activity in the hippocampus involving endogenous field effect transmission."

Last modified on 10-Apr-18

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