Hippocampal GABAergic synapses possess the molecular machinery for retrograde nitric oxide signaling

Eszter Szabadits, Csaba Cserép, Anikó Ludányi, István Katona, Javier Gracia-Llanes, Tamás F. Freund, Gábor Nyíri

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Nitric oxide (NO) plays an important role in synaptic plasticity as a retrograde messenger at glutamatergic synapses. Here we describe that, in hippocampal pyramidal cells, neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) is also associated with the postsynaptic active zones of GABAergic symmetrical synapses terminating on their somata, dendrites, and axon initial segments in both mice and rats. The NO receptor nitric oxide-sensitive guanylyl cyclase (NOsGC) is present in the brain in two functional subunit compositions: α1β1 and α2β1. The β1 subunit is expressed in both pyramidal cells and interneurons in the hippocampus. Using immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization methods,wedescribe that the α1 subunit is detectable only in interneurons, which are always positive for β1 subunit as well; however, pyramidal cells are labeled only for β1 and α2 subunits. With double-immunofluorescent staining, we also found that most cholecystokinin- and parvalbumin-positive and smaller proportion of the somatostatin- and nNOS-positive interneurons are α1 subunit positive. We also found that the α1 subunit is present in parvalbumin- and cholecystokinin-positive interneuron terminals that establish synapses on somata, dendrites, or axon initial segments. Our results demonstrate that NOsGC, composed of α1β1 subunits, is selectively expressed in different types of interneurons and is present in their presynaptic GABAergic terminals, in which it may serve as a receptor for NO produced postsynaptically by nNOS in the very same synapse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8101-8111
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number30
Publication statusPublished - Jul 25 2007



  • GABAergic plasticity
  • Interneuron
  • Mouse
  • Rat
  • Retrograde signaling
  • cGMP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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