Morphological diversity and connectivity of hippocampal interneurons

Cell Tissue Res. 2018 Sep;373(3):619-641. doi: 10.1007/s00441-018-2882-2. Epub 2018 Aug 6.


The mammalian forebrain is constructed from ensembles of neurons that form local microcircuits giving rise to the exquisite cognitive tasks the mammalian brain can perform. Hippocampal neuronal circuits comprise populations of relatively homogenous excitatory neurons, principal cells and exceedingly heterogeneous inhibitory neurons, the interneurons. Interneurons release GABA from their axon terminals and are capable of controlling excitability in every cellular compartment of principal cells and interneurons alike; thus, they provide a brake on excess activity, control the timing of neuronal discharge and provide modulation of synaptic transmission. The dendritic and axonal morphology of interneurons, as well as their afferent and efferent connections within hippocampal circuits, is central to their ability to differentially control excitability, in a cell-type- and compartment-specific manner. This review aims to provide an up-to-date compendium of described hippocampal interneuron subtypes, with respect to their morphology, connectivity, neurochemistry and physiology, a full understanding of which will in time help to explain the rich diversity of neuronal function.

Keywords: Connectivity; GABA; Hippocampus; Interneuron; Morphology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cortical Excitability
  • Dendrites / chemistry
  • Dendrites / metabolism
  • Glutamic Acid / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / cytology*
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Interneurons / cytology*
  • Interneurons / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Models, Neurological
  • Presynaptic Terminals / chemistry
  • Presynaptic Terminals / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Synapses / chemistry
  • Synapses / metabolism
  • Synaptic Transmission
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism


  • Glutamic Acid
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid