Cholinergic Stimulation Modulates the Functional Composition of CA3 Cell Types in the Hippocampus

Christopher Jon Puhl, Winnie Wefelmeyer*, Juan Burrone*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The functional heterogeneity of hippocampal CA3 pyramidal neurons has emerged as a key aspect of circuit function. Here, we explored the effects of long-term cholinergic activity on the functional heterogeneity of CA3 pyramidal neurons in organotypic slices obtained from male rat brains. Application of agonists to either AChRs generally, or mAChRs specifically, induced robust increases in network activity in the low-gamma range. Prolonged AChR stimulation for 48 h uncovered a population of hyperadapting CA3 pyramidal neurons that typically fired a single, early action potential in response to current injection. Although these neurons were present in control networks, their proportions were dramatically increased following long-term cholinergic activity. Characterized by the presence of a strong M-current, the hyperadaptation phenotype was abolished by acute application of either M-channel antagonists or the reapplication of AChR agonists. We conclude that long-term mAChR activation modulates the intrinsic excitability of a subset of CA3 pyramidal cells, uncovering a highly plastic cohort of neurons that are sensitive to chronic ACh modulation. Our findings provide evidence for the activity-dependent plasticity of functional heterogeneity in the hippocampus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4972-4983
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number27
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2023


  • acetylcholine
  • CA3
  • excitability
  • hippocampus
  • M-current


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