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Cereb Cortex. 2016 Aug;26(8):3553-62. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhw158. Epub 2016 May 27.

Effects of Hypocretin/Orexin and Major Transmitters of Arousal on Fast Spiking Neurons in Mouse Cortical Layer 6B.

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Département des Neurosciences Fondamentales, Centre Médical Universitaire, Genève, Suisse.
Département des Neurosciences Fondamentales, Centre Médical Universitaire, Genève, Suisse Centre de Médecine du Sommeil, Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève, Genève, Suisse.


Fast spiking (FS) GABAergic neurons are thought to be involved in the generation of high-frequency cortical rhythms during the waking state. We previously showed that cortical layer 6b (L6b) was a specific target for the wake-promoting transmitter, hypocretin/orexin (hcrt/orx). Here, we have investigated whether L6b FS cells were sensitive to hcrt/orx and other transmitters associated with cortical activation. Recordings were thus made from L6b FS cells in either wild-type mice or in transgenic mice in which GFP-positive GABAergic cells are parvalbumin positive. Whereas in a control condition hcrt/orx induced a strong increase in the frequency, but not amplitude, of spontaneous synaptic currents, in the presence of TTX, it had no effect at all on miniature synaptic currents. Hcrt/orx effect was thus presynaptic although not by an action on glutamatergic terminals but rather on neighboring cells. In contrast, noradrenaline and acetylcholine depolarized and excited these cells through a direct postsynaptic action. Neurotensin, which is colocalized in hcrt/orx neurons, also depolarized and excited these cells but the effect was indirect. Morphologically, these cells exhibited basket-like features. These results suggest that hcrt/orx, noradrenaline, acetylcholine, and neurotensin could contribute to high-frequency cortical activity through an action on L6b GABAergic FS cells.


acetylcholine; arousal; neurotensin; noradrenaline; sleep

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