Probing the polarity of spontaneous perisomatic GABAergic synaptic transmission in the mouse CA3 circuit in vivo

Cell Rep. 2021 Jul 13;36(2):109381. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.109381.


The hypothesis that reversed, excitatory GABA may be involved in various brain pathologies, including epileptogenesis, is appealing but controversial because of the technical difficulty of probing endogenous GABAergic synaptic function in vivo. We overcome this challenge by non-invasive extracellular recording of neuronal firing responses to optogenetically evoked and spontaneously occurring inhibitory perisomatic GABAergic field potentials, generated by individual parvalbumin interneurons on their target pyramidal cells. Our direct probing of GABAergic transmission suggests a rather anecdotal participation of excitatory GABA in two specific models of epileptogenesis in the mouse CA3 circuit in vivo, even though this does not preclude its expression in other brain areas or pathological conditions. Our approach allows the detection of distinct alterations of inhibition during spontaneous activity in vivo, with high sensitivity. It represents a promising tool for the investigation of excitatory GABA in different pathological conditions that may affect the hippocampal circuit.

Keywords: GABAergic transmission; epilepsy; hippocampus; inhibition; interneurons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Acute Disease
  • Animals
  • CA3 Region, Hippocampal / physiology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • GABAergic Neurons / physiology*
  • Gene Silencing
  • Inhibitory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology
  • Interneurons / physiology
  • Kainic Acid
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Optogenetics
  • Parvalbumins / metabolism
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology
  • Seizures / physiopathology
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*
  • Time Factors


  • Parvalbumins
  • Kainic Acid