Novel Striatal GABAergic Interneuron Populations Labeled in the 5HT3a(EGFP) Mouse

Cereb Cortex. 2016 Jan;26(1):96-105. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhu179. Epub 2014 Aug 21.


Histological and morphological studies indicate that approximately 5% of striatal neurons are cholinergic or γ-aminobutyric acidergic (GABAergic) interneurons (gINs). However, the number of striatal neurons expressing known interneuron markers is too small to account for the entire interneuron population. We therefore studied the serotonin (5HT) receptor 3a-enhanced green fluorescent protein (5HT3a(EGFP)) mouse, in which we found that a large number of striatal gINs are labeled. Roughly 20% of 5HT3a(EGFP)-positive cells co-express parvalbumin and exhibit fast-spiking (FS) electrophysiological properties. However, the majority of labeled neurons do not overlap with known molecular interneuron markers. Intrinsic electrical properties reveal at least 2 distinct novel subtypes: a late-spiking (LS) neuropeptide-Y (NPY)-negative neurogliaform (NGF) interneuron, and a large heterogeneous population with several features resembling low-threshold-spiking (LTS) interneurons that do not express somatostatin, NPY, or neuronal nitric oxide synthase. Although the 5HT3a(EGFP) NGF and LTS-like interneurons have electrophysiological properties similar to previously described populations, they are pharmacologically distinct. In direct contrast to previously described NPY(+) LTS and NGF cells, LTS-like 5HT3a(EGFP) cells show robust responses to nicotine administration, while the 5HT3a(EGFP) NGF cell type shows little or no response. By constructing a molecular map of the overlap between these novel populations and existing interneuron populations, we are able to reconcile the morphological and molecular estimates of striatal interneuron numbers.

Keywords: 5HT3a; interneuron; nicotine; striatum; subtype.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Corpus Striatum / cytology*
  • Corpus Striatum / metabolism
  • Electric Stimulation
  • GABAergic Neurons / cytology*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Interneurons / cytology*
  • Interneurons / physiology
  • Neostriatum / cytology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Neuropeptide Y / metabolism
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism*
  • Somatostatin / metabolism


  • Neuropeptide Y
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • enhanced green fluorescent protein
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Somatostatin