The Cytokine CXCL12 Promotes Basket Interneuron Inhibitory Synapses in the Medial Prefrontal Cortex

Cereb Cortex. 2017 Sep 1;27(9):4303-4313. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhw230.


Prenatally, the cytokine CXCL12 regulates cortical interneuron migration, whereas its postnatal functions are poorly understood. Here, we report that CXCL12 is expressed postnatally in layer V pyramidal neurons and localizes on their cell bodies in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), while its receptors CXCR4/CXCR7 localize to the axon terminals of parvalbumin (PV) interneurons. Conditionally eliminating CXCL12 in neonatal layer V pyramidal neurons led to decreased axon targeting and reduced inhibitory perisomatic synapses from PV+ basket interneurons onto layer V pyramidal neurons. Consequently, the mPFC of Cxcl12 conditional mutants displayed attenuated inhibitory postsynaptic currents onto layer V pyramidal neurons. Thus, postnatal CXCL12 signaling promotes a specific interneuron circuit that inhibits mPFC activity.

Keywords: CXCR4/CXCR7; axon targeting; layer V pyramidal neurons; parvalbumin interneurons; schizophrenia.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / metabolism
  • Chemokine CXCL12 / genetics
  • Chemokine CXCL12 / metabolism*
  • Inhibitory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology
  • Interneurons / metabolism*
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Parvalbumins / metabolism
  • Prefrontal Cortex / metabolism*
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology
  • Receptors, CXCR4 / metabolism
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism


  • Chemokine CXCL12
  • Cxcl12 protein, mouse
  • Parvalbumins
  • Receptors, CXCR4
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid