Associational and commissural afferents of parvalbumin-immunoreactive neurons in the rat hippocampus: a combined immunocytochemical and PHA-L study

J Comp Neurol. 1994 Dec 22;350(4):612-22. doi: 10.1002/cne.903500408.


Nonpyramidal neurons containing the calcium-binding protein parvalbumin (PV) are one of the inhibitory elements of the hippocampal network. Previous studies have indicated that they are involved in septohippocampal disinhibitory circuits. This study analyzes the commissural and ipsilateral associational afferents of parvalbumin neurons. Injections of the anterograde tracer Phaseolus vulgaris-leucoagglutinin (PHA-L) into the hilus of the fascia dentata labeled numerous axons in the molecular layer that established synaptic contacts with parvalbumin-immunoreactive neurons on both the injection and the contralateral side. Mossy fibers, labeled by injections into the granule cell layer, terminated on parvalbumin neurons in the hilus and in CA3. Injections of PHA-L into CA3 resulted in a dense labeling of fibers in the hilus and in CA3, CA2, and CA1 on both the injection and the contralateral side. In all these hippocampal fields, PHA-L-labeled fibers established asymmetric contacts with PV-immunoreactive, presumably GABAergic, inhibitory neurons. These observations indicate that parvalbumin-immunoreactive inhibitory neurons in the hippocampus are targets of presumably excitatory associational and commissural projections and suggest that they are involved in feed-forward and feed-back circuits.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / metabolism*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Nerve Fibers / metabolism
  • Neural Pathways / cytology
  • Neural Pathways / metabolism
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Neurons, Afferent / metabolism*
  • Parvalbumins / metabolism*
  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Parvalbumins
  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • leukoagglutinins, plants