The parvalbumin-positive interneurons in the mouse dentate gyrus express GABAA receptor subunits α1, β2, and δ along their extrasynaptic cell membrane

Neuroscience. 2013 Dec 19:254:80-96. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2013.09.019. Epub 2013 Sep 17.


Neuronal circuitries in the hippocampus are involved in navigation and memory and are controlled by major networks of GABAergic interneurons. Parvalbumin (PV)-expressing interneurons in the dentate gyrus (DG) are identified as fast-spiking cells, playing a crucial role in network oscillation and synchrony. The inhibitory modulation of these interneurons is thought to be mediated mainly through GABAA receptors, the major inhibitory neurotransmitter receptors in the brain. Here we show that all PV-positive interneurons in the granular/subgranular layer (GL/SGL) of the mouse DG express high levels of the GABAA receptor δ subunit. PV-containing interneurons in the hilus and the molecular layer, however, express the δ subunit to a lower extent. Only 8% of the somatostatin-containing interneurons express the δ subunit, whereas calbindin- or calretinin-containing interneurons in the DG seem not to express the GABAA receptor δ subunit at all. Hence, these cells receive a GABAergic control different from that of PV-containing interneurons in the GL/SGL. Experiments investigating a possible co-expression of GABAA receptor α1, α2, α3, α4, α5, β1, β2, β3, or γ2 subunits with PV and δ subunits indicated that α1 and β2 subunits are co-expressed with δ subunits along the extrasynaptic membranes of PV-interneurons. These results suggest a robust tonic GABAergic control of PV-containing interneurons in the GL/SGL of the DG via δ subunit-containing receptors. Our data are important for better understanding of the neuronal circuitries in the DG and the role of specific cell types under pathological conditions.

Keywords: 3,3′-diaminobenzidine; CA; Cb; Cr; DAB; DG; GABA(A) receptor; GL; HL; IR; ML; NPY; PB; PV; SGL; Som; TBS; Tris–HCl-buffered saline; calbindin; calretinin; cornu ammonis; dentate gyrus; granule cell layer; hilus; hippocampus; immunohistochemistry; immunoreactivity; interneuron; molecular layer; mouse; neuropeptide Y; parvalbumin; phosphate buffer; somatostatin; subgranular layer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / chemistry
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Dentate Gyrus / chemistry
  • Dentate Gyrus / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Interneurons / chemistry
  • Interneurons / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Parvalbumins / analysis
  • Parvalbumins / biosynthesis*
  • Protein Subunits / analysis
  • Protein Subunits / biosynthesis
  • Random Allocation
  • Receptors, GABA / analysis
  • Receptors, GABA / biosynthesis*
  • Receptors, GABA-A / analysis
  • Receptors, GABA-A / biosynthesis*
  • Synaptic Membranes / chemistry
  • Synaptic Membranes / metabolism


  • Gabra1 protein, mouse
  • Gabrb2 protein, mouse
  • Parvalbumins
  • Protein Subunits
  • Receptors, GABA
  • Receptors, GABA-A