Gap-junctional coupling between neurogliaform cells and various interneuron types in the neocortex

Anna Simon, Szabolcs Oláh, Gábor Molnár, János Szabadics, Gábor Tamás

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

110 Citations (Scopus)


Electrical synapses contribute to the generation of synchronous activity in neuronal networks. Several types of cortical GABAergic neurons acting via postsynaptic GABAA receptors also form electrical synapses with interneurons of the same class, suggesting that synchronization through gap junctions could be limited to homogenous interneuron populations. Neurogliaform cells elicit combined GABAA and GABAB receptor-mediated postsynaptic responses in cortical pyramidal cells, but it is not clear whether neurogliaform cells are involved in networks linked by electrical coupling. We recorded from pairs, triplets, and quadruplets of cortical neurons in layers 2 and 3 of rat somatosensory cortex (postnatal day 20-35). Neurogliaform cells eliciting slow IPSPs on pyramidal cells also triggered divergent electrical coupling potentials on interneu-rons. Neurogliaform cells were electrically coupled to other neurogliaform cells, basket cells, regular-spiking nonpyramidal cells, to an axoaxonic cell, and to various unclassified interneurons showing diverse firing patterns and morphology. Electrical interactions were mediated by one or two electron microscopically verified gap junctions linking the somatodendritic domain of the coupled cells. Our results suggest that neurogliaform cells have a unique position in the cortical circuit. Apart from eliciting combined GABAA and GABAB receptor-mediated inhibition on pyramidal cells, neurogliaform cells establish electrical synapses and link multiple networks formed by gap junctions restricted to a particular class of interneuron. Widespread electrical connections might enable neurogliaform cells to monitor the activity of different interneurons acting on GABAA receptors at various regions of target cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6278-6285
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number27
Publication statusPublished - Jul 6 2005


  • Basket cell
  • Cerebral cortex
  • GABA receptor
  • GABAergic neuron
  • Gap junction
  • Interneuron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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