Kainate receptor-induced ectopic spiking of CA3 pyramidal neurons initiates network bursts in neonatal hippocampus

Juuso Juuri, Vernon R.J. Clarke, Sari E. Lauri, Tomi Taira*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Kainate receptors (KARs) are expressed at high levels in the brain during early development and may be critical for the proper development of neuronal networks. Here we elucidated a physiological role of highaffinity KARs in developing hippocampal network by studying the effects of 25-100 nM kainate (KA) on intrinsic network activity in slice preparations. Whereas 100 nM KA resulted in hyperexcitability of the network and the disruption of natural activity patterns, ≤50 nM KA concentrations enhanced the initiation of network bursts yet preserved the characteristic patterns of endogenous activity. This was not dependent on changes in GABAergic transmission or on activation of GluK1 subunit containing KARs. However, the activation of high-affinity KARs increased glutamatergic drive by promoting spontaneous firing of CA3 pyramidal neurons without affecting action potential independent glutamate release. This was not because of changes in the intrinsic somatic properties of pyramidal neurons but seemed to reside in an electrically remote site, most probably in an axonal compartment. Although application of KAR agonists has mainly been used to study pathological type of network activities, this study provides a novel mechanism by which endogenous activity of KARs can modulate intrinsic activities of the emerging neuronal network in a physiologically relevant manner. The results support recent studies that KARs play a central role in the activity-dependent maturation of synaptic circuitries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1696-1706
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Physiology


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