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Brain Res. 2002 Jul 12;943(2):237-44.

Immunohistochemical characterization of somatostatin containing interneurons in the rat basolateral amygdala.

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Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Bldg 1, Columbia, SC 29208, USA.


There are discrete subpopulations of GABAergic interneurons in the basolateral amygdala (ABL) that contain particular neuropeptides or calcium-binding proteins (calbindin-D28k, parvalbumin (PV), or calretinin). The present study employed a dual-labeling immunofluorescence technique combined with confocal laser scanning microscopy to investigate the neurochemical characteristics of the interneuronal subpopulation containing somatostatin (SOM). The great majority of SOM+ neurons in the ABL exhibited GABA immunoreactivity (66-82% depending on the nucleus). These SOM+ neurons constituted 11-18% of the GABA+ population. There was also extensive colocalization of SOM with calbindin (CB) in all nuclei of the ABL, but no colocalization of SOM with parvalbumin, calretinin, or vasoactive intestinal polypeptide. In the basolateral nucleus more than 90% of SOM+ neurons also exhibited CB immunoreactivity, whereas in the lateral nucleus about two-thirds of SOM+ neurons contained significant levels of CB. These SOM/CB neurons constituted about one quarter of the CB+ population in the basolateral nucleus and about one third of the CB+ population in the lateral nucleus. These results, in conjunction with the findings of previous studies, indicate that there are at least three major subpopulations of GABAergic interneurons in the ABL: (i) SOM+ neurons (most of which also contain CB and/or neuropeptide Y); (ii) PV+ neurons (most of which also contain CB); and (iii) CR+ neurons (most of which also contain vasoactive intestinal polypeptide).

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