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Characterization of the time course of changes of the evoked electrical activity in a model of a chemically-induced neuronal plasticity

DOI: 10.1186/1756-0500-2-13

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In the present manuscript we analysed the time course of changes of the evoked electrical activity during neuronal plasticity and we correlated it with a transcriptional analysis of the underlying changes of gene expression. Our investigation shows that treatment for 30 min. with the GABAA receptor antagonist gabazine (GabT) causes a potentiation of the evoked electrical activity occurring 2–4 hours after GabT and the concomitant up-regulation of 342 genes. Inhibition of the ERK1/2 pathway reduced but did not abolish the potentiation of the evoked response caused by GabT. In fact not all the genes analysed were blocked by ERK1/2 inhibitors.These results are in agreement with the notion that neuronal plasticity is mediated by several distinct pathways working in unison.We have used dissociated neuronal cultures grown over MEA for 2–6 weeks to monitor the electrical activity from a population of neurons [9]. MEAs allow stable and long lasting recordings (hours to days) of extracellular signals from the entire population and permit to characterize and follow the properties of single spikes from identified neurons. In this way, it was possible to describe the global properties of the network, such as its overall electrical activity and to obtain a characterization of changes during neuronal plasticity of single identified spikes. This analysis could not be performed with hippocampal slices or organotypic cultures grown on MEAs or in vivo, because in these cases local field potentials (LFPs) are observed and a detailed investigation of neuronal plasticity at a single spike level is almost impossible. We increased synaptic efficacy and the overall electrical activity by treating hippocampal cultures for 30 min. with the GABAA receptor antagonist gabazine (GabT). After GabT, gabazine was washed out and the time course of evoked electrical activity was followed/studied. MEA's extracellular electrodes were used for recording and stimulation so to quantify changes of the evok


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