Neurogliaform cells and other interneurons of stratum lacunosum-moleculare gate entorhinal-hippocampal dialogue
The stratum lacunosum-moleculare of the hippocampus is an area of integration that receives inputs from extrinsic excitatory fibres including those from the entorhinal cortex, and is under the control of several neuromodulators. A critical aspect is the presence in this hippocampal layer of specific interneurons that are likely to influence the strength and the temporal structure of entorhinal-CA1 hippocampal dynamics. I review here recent data on the physiological role of these interneurons. Special focus is devoted to one interneuron type, the so-called neurogliaform cell, because recent studies have defined its unusual mode of cell-to-cell communication. Neurogliaform cells mediate feedforward inhibition of CA1 pyramidal cells, form a network of cells connected via chemical and electrical synapses, and evoke slow inhibitory synaptic currents mediated by GABA A and GABA B receptors. The modulation of entorhinal input by neurogliaform cells and their contribution to network theta rhythm are also discussed. I hope that novel information on neurogliaform cells will contribute to the ever-growing appreciation of GABAergic cell type diversity, and will inspire neuroscientists interested not only in synaptic physiology but also in the brain's spatial representation system. © 2011 The Author. Journal compilation © 2011 The Physiological Society.