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Neuron. 1998 May;20(5):983-93.

How many subtypes of inhibitory cells in the hippocampus?

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Laboratoire de Neurobiologie Cellulaire, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.


Hippocampal inhibitory cells are diverse. It is supposed that they fall into functionally distinct subsets defined by a similar morphology and physiology. Switching between functions could be accomplished by activating receptors for modulating transmitters expressed selectively by different subsets of interneurons. We tested this hypothesis by comparing morphology, physiology, and neurotransmitter receptor expression for CA1 hippocampal interneurons. We distinguished 16 distinct morphological phenotypes and 3 different modes of discharge. Subsets of inhibitory cells were excited or inhibited by agonists at receptors for noradrenaline, muscarine, serotonin, and mGluRs. Most cells responded to 2 or 3 agonists, and 25 different response combinations were detected. Subsets defined by morphology, physiology, and receptor expression did not coincide, suggesting that hippocampal interneurons cannot easily be segregated into a few well-defined groups.

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