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Cereb Cortex. 2009 Dec;19(12):3011-29. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhp072. Epub 2009 Apr 9.

GABAergic inhibitory interneurons in the posterior piriform cortex of the GAD67-GFP mouse.

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  • 1Department of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 82071, USA.


Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-releasing inhibitory interneurons, a critical component of cortical circuitry, are involved in myriad known functional roles. However, information regarding the cytoarchitectural, physiological, and molecular properties of interneurons in posterior piriform cortex (PPC) is sparse. Taking advantage of the glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD)67-enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) mouse, we used in vitro whole-cell patch-clamp techniques to record from GABAergic interneurons across all 3 layers of PPC and, subsequently, to reconstruct their morphology. For the first time, 5 groups of interneurons are identified, whose firing types are defined based on those described within neocortex. Interestingly, each interneuron group with a distinct firing type also exhibits unique morphological properties, laminar distributions, and excitatory synaptic properties. The dendritic and axonal processes demonstrate subtype-specific orientations and a differential expression of spines and boutons, respectively. In addition, the active and passive electrophysiological properties of these cells show marked intergroup differences. Immunohistochemical techniques revealed a laminar-specific distribution of calcium-binding proteins and vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) expression. Surprisingly, excitatory synaptic properties in several groups lack target-specific differences seen in neocortical circuits, reflecting a circuit arranged with less complexity. These data aid in the identification of PPC interneurons and allow us to make well-supported postulations about their functional properties.

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