There is a growing recognition that the CA2 region of the hippocampus has its own distinctive properties, inputs, and pathologies. The dendritic and axonal patterns of some interneurons in this region are also strikingly different from those described previously in CA1 and CA3. The local circuitry in this region, however, had yet to be studied in detail. Accordingly, using dual intracellular recordings and biocytin-filling, excitatory and inhibitory connections involving CA2 parvalbumin-positive basket cells were characterized for the first time. CA2 basket cells targeted neighboring pyramidal cells and received excitatory inputs from them. CA2 basket cells that resembled those in CA1 with a fast spiking behavior and dendritic tree confined to the region of origin received depressing excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs). In contrast, unlike CA1 basket cells but like CA1 Oriens-Lacunosum Moleculare (OLM) cells, the majority of CA2 basket cells had horizontally oriented dendrites in Stratum Oriens (SO), which extended into all three CA subfields, had an adapting firing pattern, presented a "sag" in their voltage responses to hyperpolarizing current injection, and received facilitating EPSPs. The expression of I(h) did not influence the EPSP time courses and paired pulse ratios (PPR). Estimates of the probability of release (p) for the depressing and facilitating EPSPs were correlated with the PPR. Connections with low probabilities of release had higher PPR. Quantal amplitude (q) for the facilitating connections was larger than q at depressing inputs onto fast spiking basket cells.
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