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J Comp Neurol. 2013 Oct 15;521(15):3556-69. doi: 10.1002/cne.23371.

Choline acetyltransferase-like immunoreactivity in a physiologically distinct subtype of olfactory nonspiking local interneurons in the cockroach (periplaneta americana).

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Biocenter, Institute for Zoology, Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne (CMMC), and Cologne Excellence Cluster on Cellular Stress Responses in Aging-Associated Diseases (CECAD), University of Cologne, 50674, Cologne, Germany.


Behavioral and physiological studies have shown that local interneurons are pivotal for processing odor information in the insect antennal lobe. They mediate inhibitory and excitatory interactions between the glomerular pathways and ultimately shape the tuning profile of projection neurons. To identify putative cholinergic local interneurons in the antennal lobe of Periplaneta americana, an antibody raised against the biosynthetic enzyme choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) was applied to individual morphologically and electrophysiologically characterized local interneurons. In nonspiking type IIa1 local interneurons, which were classified in this study, we found ChAT-like immunoreactivity suggesting that they are most likely excitatory. This is a well-defined population of neurons that generates Ca(2+) -driven spikelets upon depolarization and stimulation with odorants, but not Na(+) -driven action potentials, because they lack voltage-activated transient Na(+) currents. The nonspiking type IIa2 and type IIb local interneurons, in which Ca(2+) -driven spikelets were absent, had no ChAT-like immunoreactivity. The GABA-like immunoreactive, spiking type I local interneurons had no ChAT-like immunoreactivity. In addition, we showed that uniglomerular projection neurons with cell bodies located in the ventral portion of the ventrolateral somata group and projections along the inner antennocerebral tract exhibited ChAT-like immunoreactivity. Assigning potential transmitters and neuromodulators to distinct morphological and electrophysiological types of antennal lobe neurons is an important prerequisite for a detailed understanding of odor information processing in insects.


acetylcholine; excitatory local interneuron; olfaction; projection neuron

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