Parvalbumin-positive basket interneurons in monkey and rat prefrontal cortex

J Neurophysiol. 2008 Oct;100(4):2348-60. doi: 10.1152/jn.90396.2008. Epub 2008 Jul 16.


Differences in the developmental origin and relative proportions of biochemically distinct classes of cortical neurons have been found between rodents and primates. In addition, species differences in the properties of certain cell types, such as neurogliaform cells, have also been reported. Consequently, in this study we compared the anatomical and physiological properties of parvalbumin (PV)-positive basket interneurons in the prefrontal cortex of macaque monkeys and rats. The somal size, total dendritic length, and horizontal and vertical spans of the axonal arbor were similar in monkeys and rats. Physiologically, PV basket cells could be identified as fast-spiking interneurons in both species, based on their short spike and high-frequency firing without adaptation. However, important interspecies differences in the intrinsic physiological properties were found. In monkeys, basket cells had a higher input resistance and a lower firing threshold, and they generated more spikes at near-threshold current intensities than those in rats. Thus monkey basket cells appeared to be more excitable. In addition, rat basket cells consistently fired the first spike with a substantial delay and generated spike trains interrupted by quiescent periods more often than monkey basket cells. The frequency of miniature excitatory postsynaptic potentials in basket cells was considerably higher in rats than that in monkeys. These differences between rats and monkeys in the electrophysiological properties of PV-positive basket cells may contribute to the differential patterns of neuronal activation observed in rats and monkeys performing working-memory tasks.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Electrophysiology
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Interneurons / metabolism
  • Interneurons / physiology*
  • Interneurons / ultrastructure
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Male
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology
  • Parvalbumins / metabolism
  • Parvalbumins / physiology*
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Prefrontal Cortex / cytology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Species Specificity


  • Parvalbumins