Synchronous neural afterdischarges in rat hippocampal slices without active chemical synapses

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Science  19 Nov 1982:
Vol. 218, Issue 4574, pp. 810-812
DOI: 10.1126/science.7134978


Extracellular field potential and intracellular recordings from neurons in rat hippocampus show that, even with synaptic transmission blocked, antidromic electrical stimuli can trigger afterdischarges of up to 9 seconds duration; during these discharges action potentials of a single neuron were synchronized with extracellularly recorded population spikes. Apparently mechanisms other than recurrent chemical synapses can synchronize and recruit epileptiform events. Measurements of transmembrane potential indicate that transient extracellular electrical fields (ephaptic interactions) contribute to the observed synchrony; electrotonic coupling and changes in the concentration of extracellular ions may also contribute.