Effect of cortical spreading depression on basal forebrain neurons

Viktor Szentgyörgyi, Balázs Balatoni, Attila Tóth, László Détári

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During natural sleep and anesthesia, rhythmic hypo- and hyperpolarizations alternate in cortical pyramidal cells and are reflected as slow ( < 1 Hz) cortical rhythm at the level of the electroencephalogram (EEG). Membrane potential changes in pyramidal neurons were initially attributed to the rhythmic fluctuation of the cholinergic input as the basal forebrain (BF) neurons fire in synchrony with cortical waves, but a more recent proposal suggested that the slow rhythm was of cortical origin. In the present experiments, interaction between the cortex and the BF was examined in urethane-anesthetized rats. BF neuronal activity was inhibited by local infusion of lidocaine into the substantia innominata in one group of rats, while in another group, the slow cortical rhythm was blocked by inducing spreading depression (SD) in the cortex. Slow cortical rhythm persisted after unilateral lidocaine injection, but rhythmic firing in BF neurons disappeared following SD induction. These findings support the view that slow cortical rhythm is generated in the cortex and transmitted to the BF through descending fibers. According to anatomical data, these fibers can excite cholinergic cells only indirectly as they terminate on non-cholinergic neurons. Thus, timing of activity changes in BF neurons during the slow cortical rhythm might give some clue regarding their transmitter specificity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-265
Number of pages5
JournalExperimental brain research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2006


  • Basal forebrain
  • Cortical activation
  • Slow cortical rhythm
  • Unit activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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