Synaptic transmission to pyramidal cells was studied in slices of neocortex resected from infants and children (n = 10, age 8 months to 13 years) undergoing surgical treatment for intractable epilepsy. Most specimens were from the least abnormal area of the resection. Stable intracellular recordings could be obtained for up to 8 hours. Most of the recorded neurons had electrophysiological characteristics similar to those of regular‐firing pyramidal cells and were in layers III to V, which was confirmed by intracellular staining with Lucifer yellow. Local extracellular stimulation evoked a sequence of excitatory and inhibitory postsynaptic potentials. Kynurenic acid, a broad‐spectrum excitatory amino acid antagonist, depressed the evoked excitatory postsynaptic potential. After application of the gamma‐aminobutyric acid antagonist, bicuculline (10–30 μM), extracellular stimulation induced large excitatory postsynaptic potentials and epileptiform bursts. Spontaneous bursts occasionally occured in bicuculline. This effect of bicuculline was observed in all the tissue samples, even those from infant patients (n = 4, age 8–16 months). Kynurenic acid depressed or abolished both spontaneous and stimulation‐induced bursts. The competitive antagonist for N‐methyl‐D‐aspartate receptors, DL‐2‐amino‐5‐phosphonopentanoic acid decreased the duration of bicuculline‐induced bursts. These data provide evidence that, similar to rat and cat neocortex, excitatory and inhibitory amino acids are important transmitters to pyramidal cells in immature human neocortex.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology