Molecular and electrophysiological characterization of GABAergic interneurons expressing the transcription factor COUP-TFII in the adult human temporal cortex

Csaba Varga, Gabor Tamas, Pal Barzo, Szabolcs Olah, Peter Somogyi

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Transcription factors contribute to the differentiation of cortical neurons, orchestrate specific interneuronal circuits, and define synaptic relationships.We have investigated neurons expressing chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter transcription factor II (COUP-TFII), which plays a role in the migration of GABAergic neurons. Whole-cell, patch-clamp recording in vitro combined with colocalization of molecular cell markers in the adult cortex differentiates distinct interneurons. The majority of strongly COUP-TFII-expressing neurons were in layers I-III. Most calretinin (CR) and/or cholecystokinin- (CCK) and/or reelin-positive interneuronswere also COUP-TFII-positive. CR-, CCK-, or reelin-positive neurons formed 80%, 20%, or 17% of COUP-TFII-positive interneurons, respectively. About half of COUP-TFII-/CCK-positive interneurons were CR-positive, a quarter of them reelinpositive, but none expressed both. Interneurons positive for COUP-TFII fired irregular, accommodating and adapting trains of action potentials (APs) and innervated mostly small dendritic shafts and rarely spines or somata. Paired recording showed that a calretinin-/COUP-TFII-positive interneuron elicited inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (IPSPs) in a reciprocally connected pyramidal cell. Calbindin, somatostatin, or parvalbumin-immunoreactive interneurons and most pyramidal cells express no immunohistochemically detectable COUP-TFII. In layers V and VI, some pyramidal cells expressed a low level of COUP-TFII in the nucleus. In conclusion, COUP-TFII is expressed in a diverse subset of GABAergic interneurons predominantly innervating small dendritic shafts originating from both interneurons and pyramidal cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4430-4449
Number of pages20
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2015



  • Calretinin
  • Dendritic synapses
  • Inhibition
  • Neuropeptides
  • Pyramidal cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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