Hippocampal sharp waves and the associated ripple oscillations (SWRs) are implicated in memory processes. These network events emerge intrinsically in the CA3 network. To understand cellular interactions that generate SWRs, we detected first spiking activity followed by recording of synaptic currents in distinct types of anatomically identified CA3 neurons during SWRs that occurred spontaneously in mouse hippocampal slices. We observed that the vast majority of interneurons fired during SWRs, whereas only a small portion of pyramidal cells was found to spike. There were substantial differences in the firing behavior among interneuron groups; parvalbumin-expressing basket cells were one of the most active GABAergic cells during SWRs, whereas ivy cells were silent. Analysis of the synaptic currents during SWRs uncovered that the dominant synaptic input to the pyramidal cell was inhibitory, whereas spiking interneurons received larger synaptic excitation than inhibition. The discharge of all interneurons was primarily determined by the magnitude and the timing of synaptic excitation. Strikingly, we observed that the temporal structure of synaptic excitation and inhibition during SWRs significantly differed between parvalbumin-containing basket cells, axoaxonic cells, and type 1 cannabinoid receptor (CB1)-expressing basket cells, which might explain their distinct recruitment to these synchronous events. Our data support the hypothesis that the active current sources restricted to the stratum pyramidale during SWRs originate from the synaptic output of parvalbuminexpressing basket cells. Thus, in addition to gamma oscillation, these GABAergic cells play a central role in SWR generation.
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