The perforant path provides the primary cortical excitatory input to the hippocampus. Because of its important role in information processing and coding, entorhinal projections to the dentate gyrus have been studied in considerable detail. Nevertheless, synaptic transmission between individual connected pairs of entorhinal stellate cells and dentate granule cells remains to be characterized. Here, we have used mouse organotypic entorhino-hippocampal tissue cultures of either sex, in which the entorhinal cortex (EC) to dentate granule cell (GC; EC–GC) projection is present, and EC–GC pairs can be studied using whole-cell patch-clamp recordings. By using cultures of wild-type mice, the properties of EC–GC synapses formed by afferents from the lateral and medial entorhinal cortex were compared, and differences in short-term plasticity were identified. As the perforant path is severely affected in Alzheimer’s disease, we used tissue cultures of amyloid precursor protein (APP)–deficient mice to examine the role of APP at this synapse. APP deficiency altered excitatory neurotransmission at medial perforant path synapses, which was accompanied by transcriptomic and ultrastructural changes. Moreover, presynaptic but not postsynaptic APP deletion through the local injection of Cre-expressing adeno-associated viruses in conditional APPflox/flox tissue cultures increased the neurotransmission efficacy at perforant path synapses. In summary, these data suggest a physiological role for presynaptic APP at medial perforant path synapses that may be adversely affected under altered APP processing conditions.
SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT The hippocampus receives input from the entorhinal cortex via the perforant path. These projections to hippocampal dentate granule cells are of utmost importance for learning and memory formation. Although there is detailed knowledge about perforant path projections, the functional synaptic properties at the level of individual connected pairs of neurons are not well understood. In this study, we investigated the role of APP in mediating functional properties and transmission rules in individually connected neurons using paired whole-cell patch-clamp recordings and genetic tools in organotypic tissue cultures. Our results show that presynaptic APP expression limits excitatory neurotransmission via the perforant path, which could be compromised in pathologic conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.

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This post is Copyright: Lenz, M., Eichler, A., Kruse, P., Galanis, C., Kleidonas, D., Andrieux, G., Boerries, M., Jedlicka, P., Müller, U., Deller, T., Vlachos, A. | July 20, 2023
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