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Cereb Cortex. 2009 Jun;19(6):1345-59. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhn175. Epub 2008 Oct 8.

Two calretinin-positive GABAergic cell types in layer 2/3 of the mouse neocortex provide different forms of inhibition.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Neurobiology, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.


Calretinin (CR)-positive GABAergic (gamma-aminobutyric acidergic) interneurons have been suggested to target preferentially other GABAergic cells in the neocortex. To systematically study this cell population in the cortex, we generated transgenic mice that express enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) under the control of the CR promoter and characterized EGFP/CR-positive cells at the cellular and network level. Based on anatomical and electrophysiological characteristics, 2 types of EGFP/CR-positive cells could be distinguished that we termed bipolar (BCR) and multipolar (MCR) CR cells. Both cell types share the feature of preferential interneuron targeting but differ in most other characteristics, including firing pattern, biochemical markers, neurite arborization, and synaptic plasticity. Like many other GABAergic interneurons, BCR cells but not MCR cells exhibit restricted cell type-specific gap junction coupling. Notably, MCR cells are electrically coupled in an asymmetric fashion with GABAergic interneurons of another subtype, the parvalbumin-positive multipolar bursting (MB) cells. Most importantly, the strength of electrical coupling between MCR and MB cells underlies their synchronous activation during carbachol-induced oscillations.

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