Changes in excitability of CA1 pyramidal neurons in slices prepared from AlCl3-treated rabbits

Silvana Franceschetti, Orso Bugiani, Ferruccio Panzica, Fabrizio Tagliavini, Giuliano Avanzini

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Intracellular recordings in 'in vitro' hippocampal slices, prepared from intracisternally AlCl3-intoxicated rabbits, were obtained from 43 CA1 pyramidal neurons. The experiments were performed 12-20 days after aluminum administration. The electrotonic length was significantly shorter than that of 33 control neurons, in agreement with morphological evidence of an Al-induced dendritic impairment. Both postsynaptic and Ca2+-dependent K+ hyperplarizing potentials were also found to be significantly decreased, with reciprocal enhancement of excitatory postsynaptic potentials and depolarizing after potentials. The former findings is ascribed to a selective neurotoxic effect of aluminum on GABAergic interneurons; the latter can be accounted for by an Al-induced increase in cyclic AMP, which is known to block the Ca2+-activated K+ conductance responsible for after-hyperpolarizing potentials. It is concluded that aluminum can exert its epileptogenic effect through multiple neurotoxic mechanisms involving membrane electrotonic properties, K+ conductances, and synaptic influences, thus resulting in a neuronal hyperexcitable state. Such changes are detectable in the early stages of the Al-induced encephalopathy, when there is only slight evidence of cytoskeleton alterations (i.e., neurofibrillary degeneration).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-48
Number of pages10
JournalEpilepsy Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1990


  • Aluminum
  • Epileptogenesis
  • Hippocampus
  • Neurofibrillary degeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neurology


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