Cat intraamygdaloid inhibitory network: ultrastructural organization of parvalbumin-immunoreactive elements

J Comp Neurol. 1998 Feb 9;391(2):164-79. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1096-9861(19980209)391:2<164::aid-cne2>;2-0.


Projection neurons of the basolateral (BL) amygdaloid complex are regulated by an intrinsic inhibitory network. To improve our understanding of this inhibitory circuit, we studied the synaptology of parvalbumin-immunopositive (PV+) elements as this calcium-binding protein is localized in a subpopulation of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-ergic interneurons. Two populations of PV+ cells were identified on the basis of soma shape (ovoid, type A vs. polygonal, type B). In the lateral and BL nuclei, the majority of boutons in contact with PV+ cells formed asymmetric synapses (types 1-3; 94%), whereas a minority (type 4, 6%) established symmetric synaptic contacts and resembled GABAergic terminals. In both nuclei, type B PV+ perikarya were more densely innervated than were type A neurons. However, the pattern of synaptic innervation of type B PV+ neurons differed in the two nuclei: in the lateral nucleus, they were almost exclusively innervated by a population of small, presumed excitatory terminals (type 1), whereas the four categories of terminals contributed more equally to their innervation in the BL nucleus. PV+ boutons belonged to a single category of terminals that was enriched with GABA and formed symmetric synapses mostly with the proximal part of PV neurons. The proportion of axosomatic synapses was significantly higher in the lateral nucleus than in the BL nucleus (33% vs. 18%). The reverse was true for the contacts with proximal dendrites (33% in the lateral nucleus vs. 46% in the BL nucleus). The remaining terminals formed synapses with distal dendrites (23-28%) and spines (8-12%). These results indicate that PV+ interneurons receive massive excitatory inputs and that PV+ terminals are strategically located to exert a powerful inhibitory control of amygdala neurons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / metabolism
  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Amygdala / ultrastructure
  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cats / metabolism
  • Cats / physiology*
  • Female
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology*
  • Parvalbumins / analysis*
  • Synapses / physiology


  • Parvalbumins