Inhibitory interneurons orchestrate prefrontal cortex (PFC) activity, but we have a limited understanding of the molecular and experience-dependent mechanisms that regulate synaptic plasticity across PFC microcircuits. We discovered that mGlu5 receptor activation facilitates long-term potentiation at synapses from the basolateral amygdala (BLA) onto somatostatin-expressing interneurons (SST-INs) in mice. This plasticity appeared to be recruited during acute restraint stress, which induced intracellular calcium mobilization within SST-INs and rapidly potentiated postsynaptic strength onto SST-INs. Restraint stress and mGlu5 receptor activation each augmented BLA recruitment of SST-IN phasic feedforward inhibition, shunting information from other excitatory inputs, including the mediodorsal thalamus. Finally, studies using cell-type-specific mGlu5 receptor knockout mice revealed that mGlu5 receptor function in SST-expressing cells is necessary for restraint stress-induced changes to PFC physiology and related behaviors. These findings provide new insights into interneuron-specific synaptic plasticity mechanisms and suggest that SST-IN microcircuits may be promising targets for treating stress-induced psychiatric diseases.
Keywords: Ca(2+)-permeable AMPA receptor; DART; GABA; GPCR; GluA2-lacking AMPA receptor; antidepressant; metabotropic glutamate receptor; motivation; optogenetics; working memory.
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