Populations of hippocampal inhibitory neurons express different levels of cytochrome c

Eur J Neurosci. 2006 May;23(10):2581-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2006.04814.x.


Cytochrome c (CC) immunoreactivity was quantified in functionally distinct rat hippocampal inhibitory neuron populations using double immunocytochemistry and laser scanning confocal microscopy to measure the CC expression level as well as the amount of mitochondria within the cells, which is a sign of neuronal activity. The CC signal showed a similar distribution to cytochrome c oxidase histochemical staining. Strongly stained somata, dendrites and axon terminal clouds were dispersed over the low intensity neuropil staining. The staining was granular and electron microscopic investigation confirmed that the signal was localized in mitochondria. Intensively labeled neurons, showing the morphological features of inhibitory cells, were most frequently found in the principal cell layers, stratum oriens of the CA1-3 areas, stratum lucidum and hilus. These neurons contained not only a higher number of mitochondria than the principal cells but the intensity of the mitochondrial staining was evidently stronger. Among the examined interneuronal populations, parvalbumin-immunoreactive neurons were intensively labeled for CC. Calbindin D28k- (CB), somatostatin- and cholecystokinin-labeled cells showed heterogeneous CC levels, whereas calretinin-immunoreactive cells never showed a strong CC signal. CB cells in stratum oriens and alveus layers, lucidum and the hilus were strongly labeled for CC. CB cells in such regions are known to project to the medial septum and contain somatostatin. We have demonstrated that the CA1 interneurons that project to the medial septum (hippocampo-septal neurons) express a high level of CC. Thus, similar to the parvalbumin-containing basket and axo-axonic cells, the hippocampo-septal neurons potentially have a high average activity level.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytochromes c / biosynthesis*
  • Electron Transport Complex IV / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / metabolism*
  • Hippocampus / ultrastructure*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Interneurons / metabolism*
  • Interneurons / ultrastructure*
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Rats


  • Cytochromes c
  • Electron Transport Complex IV