Cell-Type-Specific D1 Dopamine Receptor Modulation of Projection Neurons and Interneurons in the Prefrontal Cortex

Cereb Cortex. 2019 Jul 5;29(7):3224-3242. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhy299.


Dopamine modulation in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) mediates diverse effects on neuronal physiology and function, but the expression of dopamine receptors at subpopulations of projection neurons and interneurons remains unresolved. Here, we examine D1 receptor expression and modulation at specific cell types and layers in the mouse prelimbic PFC. We first show that D1 receptors are enriched in pyramidal cells in both layers 5 and 6, and that these cells project to intratelencephalic targets including contralateral cortex, striatum, and claustrum rather than to extratelencephalic structures. We then find that D1 receptors are also present in interneurons and enriched in superficial layer VIP-positive (VIP+) interneurons that coexpresses calretinin but absent from parvalbumin-positive (PV+) and somatostatin-positive (SOM+) interneurons. Finally, we determine that D1 receptors strongly and selectively enhance action potential firing in only a subset of these corticocortical neurons and VIP+ interneurons. Our findings define several novel subpopulations of D1+ neurons, highlighting how modulation via D1 receptors can influence both excitatory and disinhibitory microcircuits in the PFC.

Keywords: dopamine; interneuron; neuromodulation; prefrontal cortex; projection neuron.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Interneurons / cytology*
  • Interneurons / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neurons, Efferent / cytology*
  • Neurons, Efferent / metabolism
  • Prefrontal Cortex / cytology*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / metabolism
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1 / analysis*
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1 / metabolism


  • Receptors, Dopamine D1