Cajal-Retzius cells and GABAergic interneurons of the developing hippocampus: Close electrophysiological encounters of the third kind

Brain Res. 2018 Oct 15;1697:124-133. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2018.07.028. Epub 2018 Jul 30.


In contrast to the large number of studies investigating the electrophysiological properties and synaptic connectivity of hippocampal pyramidal neurons, granule cells, and GABAergic interneurons, much less is known about Cajal-Retzius cells. In this review article, we discuss the possible reasons underlying this difference, and review experimental work performed on this cell type in the hippocampus, comparing it with results obtained in the neocortex. Our main emphasis is on data obtained with in vitro electrophysiology. In particular, we address the bidirectional connectivity between Cajal-Retzius cells and GABAergic interneurons, examine their synaptic properties and propose specific functions of Cajal-Retzius cell/GABAergic interneuron microcircuits. Lastly, we discuss the potential involvement of these microcircuits in critical physiological hippocampal functions such as postnatal neurogenesis or pathological scenarios such as temporal lobe epilepsy.

Keywords: Epilepsy; GABA; Glutamate; Neurogenesis; Reelin; Synapse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal / metabolism
  • Connectome / methods
  • Electrophysiological Phenomena
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / metabolism
  • GABAergic Neurons / metabolism*
  • GABAergic Neurons / physiology*
  • Hippocampus / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Interneurons / physiology
  • Neocortex / metabolism
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Neurogenesis
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Pyramidal Cells / metabolism
  • Reelin Protein


  • Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Reelin Protein
  • RELN protein, human