Long-term maintenance of mature hippocampal slices in vitro

Zhongmin Xiang, Sabina Hrabetova, Shaye I. Moskowitz, Patrizia Casaccia-Bonnefil, Steven R. Young, Volker C. Nimmrich, Henri Tiedge, Stephen Einheber, Sergei Karnup, Riccardo Bianchi, Peter J. Bergold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Cultures of primary neurons or thin brain slices are typically prepared from immature animals. We introduce a method to prepare hippocampal slice cultures from mature rats aged 20-30 days. Mature slice cultures retain hippocampal cytoarchitecture and synaptic connections up to 3 months in vitro. Spontaneous epileptiform activity is rarely observed suggesting long-term retention of normal neuronal excitability and of excitatory and inhibitory synaptic networks. Picrotoxin, a GABAergic Cl- channel antagonist, induced characteristic interictal-like bursts that originated in the CA3 region, but not in the CA1 region. These data suggest that mature slice cultures displayed long-term retention of GABAergic inhibitory synapses that effectively suppressed synchronized burst activity via recurrent excitatory synapses of CA3 pyramidal cells. Mature slice cultures lack the reactive synaptogenesis, spontaneous epileptiform activity, and short life span that limit the use of slice cultures isolated from immature rats. Mature slice cultures are anticipated to be a useful addition for the in vitro study of normal and pathological hippocampal function. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-154
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Electrophysiology
  • Glia
  • Hippocampal slice culture
  • Mossy fiber
  • Neuron
  • Rat


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