Morphological and electrophysiological characteristics of layer V neurons of the rat lateral entorhinal cortex

Bassam N. Hamam, David G Amaral, Angel A. Alonso

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45 Scopus citations


The intrinsic electrophysiological and morphological properties of lateral entorhinal area (LEA) layer V neurons were investigated by sharp electrode intracellular recording and biocytin labeling in vitro. The morphological analysis revealed that layer V of the LEA contains three distinct subtypes of principal neurons, which were classified as pyramidal, horizontal, and polymorphic neurons. Pyramidal cells were the most abundant subtype (57%) and could be further subdivided into neurons with large, small, and star-like somas. Similarly to pyramidal cells, horizontal neurons (11%) had a prominent apical dendrite. However, their distinctive basal dendritic plexus extended primarily in the horizontal plane. Polymorphic neurons (32%) were characterized by a multipolar dendritic organization. Electrophysiological analysis of neurons in the three categories demonstrated a diversity of electrophysiological profiles within each category and no significant differences between groups. Neurons in the three subgroups could display instantaneous and/or time-dependent inward rectification and different degrees of spike frequency adaptation. None of the recorded cells displayed an intrinsic oscillatory bursting discharge. Many neurons in the three subgroups, however, displayed slow (3.5-14 Hz), sustained, subthreshold membrane potential oscillations. The morphological and electrophysiological diversity of principal neurons in the LEA parallels that previously reported for the medial entorhinal area and suggests that, with respect to the deep layers, similar information processing is performed across the mediolateral extent of the entorhinal cortex. Layer V of the entorhinal cortex may undertake very complex operations beyond acting as a relay station of hippocampal processed information to the neocortex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-61
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 9 2002


  • Electrophysiology
  • Hippocampal formation
  • Intracellular
  • Morphometry
  • Oscillations
  • Three-dimensional reconstruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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