The massive transfer of information from the neocortex to the entorhinal cortex (and vice versa) is hindered by a powerful inhibitory control generated in the perirhinal cortex. In vivo and in vitro experiments performed in rodents and cats support this conclusion, further extended in the present study to the analysis of the interaction between the entorhinal cortex and other parahippocampal areas, such as the postrhinal and the retrosplenial cortices. The experiments were performed in the in vitro isolated guinea pig brain by a combined approach based on electrophysiological recordings and fast imaging of optical signals generated by voltage-sensitive dyes applied to the entire brain by arterial perfusion. Local stimuli delivered in different portions of the perirhinal, postrhinal, and retrosplenial cortex evoked local responses that did not propagate to the entorhinal cortex. Neither high- and low-frequency- patterned stimulation nor paired associative stimuli facilitated the propagation of activity to the entorhinal region. Similar stimulations performed during cholinergic neuromodulation with carbachol were also ineffective in overcoming the inhibitory network that controls propagation to the entorhinal cortex. The pharmacological inactivation of GABAergic transmission by local application of bicuculline (1 mM) in area 36 of the perirhinal cortex facilitated the longitudinal (rostrocaudal) propagation of activity into the perirhinal/postrhinal cortices but did not cause propagation into the entorhinal cortex. Bicuculline injection in both area 35 and medial entorhinal cortex released the inhibitory control and allowed the propagation of the neural activity to the entorhinal cortex. These results demonstrate that, as for the perirhinal-entorhinal reciprocal interactions, also the connections between the postrhinal/retrosplenial cortices and the entorhinal region are subject to a powerful inhibitory control.
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