Synaptic communication among hippocampal interneurons: properties of spontaneous IPSCs in morphologically identified cells

J Neurosci. 1997 Nov 1;17(21):8427-42. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.17-21-08427.1997.


The properties of spontaneous IPSCs (sIPSCs) recorded with whole-cell patch-clamp techniques were investigated in various anatomically identified hippocampal CA1 interneurons and were compared with those recorded in pyramidal cells. Neurons labeled with biocytin or neurobiotin were classified on the basis of their dendritic and axonal arborizations, leading to the identification of previously unknown interneuron types projecting to the dendritic region of pyramidal cells. In most interneurons, the average sIPSCs decayed slower than did those observed in pyramidal cells. The properties of sIPSCs were homogeneous within a given morphologically identified neuron type. Many interneurons had comparable somatic size, location, and dendritic arbor but displayed extremely different axonal projections paralleled by distinct sIPSC properties. Thus, physiological comparisons are only meaningful after the complete morphological identification of the recorded cells. The decay of sIPSCs matched for amplitudes and rise times could vary over 10-fold in a given interneuron, consistent with electrotonic filtering and possibly with different GABAA receptor subunit assemblies present at distinct synapses. Our findings demonstrate an extensive connectivity among hippocampal interneurons through GABAA synapses of various properties that may underlie complex network oscillations at different frequencies.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure
  • Efferent Pathways / cytology
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Interneurons / physiology*
  • Kynurenic Acid / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Neuronal Plasticity*
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptors, GABA-A / drug effects
  • Receptors, GABA-A / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / physiology*


  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
  • Receptors, GABA-A
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Kynurenic Acid