Spontaneous activity in the developing gerbil auditory cortex in vivo involves GABAergic transmission

V. C. Kotak*, L. M. Péndola, A. Rodríguez-Contreras

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


A salient feature of the developing brain is that spontaneous oscillations (SOs) and waves may influence the emergence of synaptic connections. While GABA produces depolarization and may support SOs in the neurons of developing rodents, it elicits hyperpolarization and diminishes SOs in developing gerbil auditory cortex (ACx). Therefore, we asked whether SOs exist in developing gerbil ACx in vivo and if GABAergic involvement can be manipulated. In vivo extracellular recordings in P3-5 ACx revealed SOs with longer burst durations and shorter inter-event intervals compared to ACx SOs in slices. ACx was then validated by gross anatomical features and lesions created at the in vivo recording site that corresponded with the electrophysiological coordinates of thalamorecipient ACx in slices. Further, NeuroVue Red, a lipophilic dye loaded at the in vivo recording sites, stained anatomically identifiable fiber tracks between the ACx and the auditory thalamus, medial geniculate body (MG). Separately, to chronically perturb GABAergic role in SOs, P2-5 pups were administered daily with GABAA receptor blocker, bicuculline (BIC). We then recorded from P14-17 ACx neurons in slices generated after hearing onset. ACx neurons from BIC-administered pups exhibited spontaneous action potentials in contrast to subthreshold synaptic potentials in neurons from sham-injected animals. Finally, to elucidate whether the gap junction blocker mefloquine (MFQ) previously shown to dampen ACx SOs in slices affected GABAergic transmission, MFQ was acutely applied in P3-5 slices while spontaneous inhibitory postsynaptic currents (sIPSCs) were recorded. Whereas MFQ increased the amplitude and frequency of sIPSCs in ACx neurons, the broad-spectrum gap junction blocker carbenoxolone decreased sIPSC amplitudes only. Together, we show that P2-5 gerbil ACx can endogenously generate SOs in vivo. Persistence of activity in ACx in P14-17 slices from pups administered with BIC at P2-5 implies that inhibitory GABAergic activity linked with gap-junction participates in the maturation of ACx.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-144
Number of pages15
StatePublished - Dec 13 2012


  • Auditory
  • Connexin
  • GABA
  • Inhibition
  • Spontaneous activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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