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J Neurosci. 2007 Jan 17;27(3):553-63.

Networks of parvalbumin-positive interneurons in the basolateral amygdala.

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Queensland Brain Institute and School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia.


The amygdala is a temporal lobe structure that is required for processing emotional information. Polymodal sensory information enters the amygdala at the level of the basolateral amygdala (BLA) and undergoes local processing, after which the behavioral and autonomic responses that accompany emotions are initiated. Two main neuron types are present in the BLA, pyramidal-like principal neurons that use glutamate as their transmitter, and local circuit interneurons that use GABA as their transmitter. Although the properties of principal neurons are known in some detail, very little is known about the properties of BLA interneurons or the local circuits in which they are involved. Using mice in which EGFP (enhanced green fluorescent protein) is expressed under the control of the parvalbumin promoter, we characterized the properties of parvalbumin-positive interneurons in the BLA. By making recordings from interneuron-interneuron and interneuron-principal neuron pairs, we analyzed the intrinsic circuitry of the BLA. We show that parvalbumin-positive interneurons can be divided into four subtypes as defined by their firing properties. Interneurons are electrically coupled in subtype-specific networks and exhibit subtype-specific heterogeneities in their synaptic dynamics and patterns of connectivity. We propose that these properties allow networks of parvalbumin-expressing neurons to perform an array of information-processing tasks within the BLA.

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