During early postnatal development, neuronal networks successively produce various forms of spontaneous patterned activity that provide key signals for circuit maturation. Initially, in both rodent hippocampus and neocortex, coordinated activity emerges in the form of synchronous plateau assemblies (SPAs) that are initiated by sparse groups of gap-junction-coupled oscillating neurons. Subsequently, SPAs are replaced by synapse-driven giant depolarizing potentials (GDPs). Whether these sequential changes in mechanistically distinct network activities correlate with modifications in single-cell properties is unknown. To determine this, we studied the morphophysiological fate of single SPA cells as a function of development. We focused on CA3 GABAergic interneurons, which are centrally involved in generating GDPs in the hippocampus. As the network matures, GABAergic neurons are engaged more in GDPs and less in SPAs. Using inducible genetic fate mapping, we show that the individual involvement of GABAergic neurons in SPAs is correlated to their temporal origin. In addition, we demonstrate that the SPA-to-GDP transition is paralleled by a remarkable maturation in the morphophysiological properties of GABAergic neurons. Compared with those involved in GDPs, interneurons participating in SPAs possess immature intrinsic properties, receive synaptic inputs spanning awide amplitude range, and display large so mata as well as membrane protrusions. Thus, a developmental switch in the morphophysiological properties of GABAergic interneurons as they progress from SPAs to GDPs marks the emergence of synapse-driven network oscillations.
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