Postsynaptic targets of somatostatinimmunoreactive interneurons in the rat hippocampus

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Two characteristic interneuron types in the hippocampus, the so-called hilar perforant path-associated cells in the dentate gyrus and stratum oriens/lacunosum-moleculare neurons in the CA3 and CA1 regions, were suggested to be involved in feedback circuits. In the present study, interneurons identical to these cell populations were visualized by somatostatin-immunostaining, then reconstructed, and processed for double- immunostaining and electron microscopy to establish their postsynaptic target selectivity. A combination of somatostatin-immunostaining with immunostaining for GABA or other interneuron markers revealed a quasi-random termination pattern: The vast majority of postsynaptic targets were GABA-negative dendritic shafts and spines of principal cells (76%), whereas other target elements contained GABA (8%). All of the examined neurochemically defined interneuron types (parvalbumin-, calretinin-, vasoactive intestinal polypeptide-, cholecystokinin-, substance P receptor-immunoreactive neurons) received innervation from somatostatin-positive boutons. Recent anatomical and electrophysiological data showed that the main excitatory inputs of somatostatin-positive interneurons originate from local principal cells. The present data revealed a massive GABAergic innervation of distal dendrites of local principal cells by these feedback driven neurons, which are proposed to control the efficacy and plasticity of entorhinal synaptic input as a function of local principal cell activity and synchrony.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-55
Number of pages19
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1999


  • Feedback inhibition
  • GABA
  • Inhibition
  • Neuropeptides
  • On-pyramidal cells
  • Theta

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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