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Feedforward inhibition of neurons is a fundamental component of information flow control in the brain. We studied the roles played by neurogliaform cells (NGFCs) of stratum lacunosum moleculare of the hippocampus in providing feedforward inhibition to CA1 pyramidal cells. We recorded from synaptically coupled pairs of anatomically identified NGFCs and CA1 pyramidal cells and found that, strikingly, a single presynaptic action potential evoked a biphasic unitary IPSC (uIPSC), consisting of two distinct components mediated by GABA(A) and GABA(B) receptors. A GABA(B) receptor-mediated unitary response has not previously been observed in hippocampal excitatory neurons. The decay of the GABA(A) receptor-mediated response was slow (time constant = 50 ms), and was tightly regulated by presynaptic GABA(B) receptors. Surprisingly, the GABA(B) receptor ligands baclofen and (2S)-3-{[(1S)-1-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)ethyl]amino-2-hydroxypropyl}(phenylmethyl)phosphinic acid (CGP55845), while affecting the NGFC-mediated uIPSCs, had no effect on action potential-evoked presynaptic Ca2+ signals monitored in individual axonal boutons of NGFCs with two-photon microscopy. In contrast, baclofen clearly depressed presynaptic Ca2+ transients in non-NGF interneurons. Changes in extracellular Ca2+ concentration that mimicked the effects of baclofen or CGP55845 on uIPSCs significantly altered presynaptic Ca2+ transients. Electrophysiological data suggest that GABA(B) receptors expressed by NGFCs contribute to the dynamic control of the excitatory input to CA1 pyramidal neurons from the temporoammonic path. The NGFC-CA1 pyramidal cell connection therefore provides a unique and subtle mechanism to shape the integration time domain for signals arriving via a major excitatory input to CA1 pyramidal cells.

Original publication




Journal article


J Neurosci

Publication Date





6974 - 6982


Action Potentials, Animals, Baclofen, Calcium, Calcium Signaling, GABA Agonists, GABA Antagonists, Hippocampus, Inhibitory Postsynaptic Potentials, Interneurons, Neural Inhibition, Neural Pathways, Neuroglia, Organ Culture Techniques, Phosphinic Acids, Propanolamines, Pyramidal Cells, Rats, Receptors, GABA-A, Receptors, GABA-B, Synaptic Transmission, gamma-Aminobutyric Acid