Calretinin-containing interneurons innervate both principal cells and interneurons in the CA1 region of the human hippocampus.

Research paper by Z Z Urbán, Zsófia Z Maglóczky, T F TF Freund

Indexed on: 18 Jun '02Published on: 18 Jun '02Published in: Acta biologica Hungarica


Hippocampal interneurons consist of functionally diverse cell types, most of them target the dendrites or perisomatic region of pyramidal cells with a few exceptions, like the calretinin-containing cells in the rat: they selectively innervate other interneurons. However, no electron microscopic data are available about the synaptic connections of calretinin-immunoreactive neurons in the human hippocampus. We aimed to provide these data to establish whether interneuron-selective interneurons indeed represent an essential feature of hippocampal circuits across distant species. Two types of calretinin-immunostained terminals were found in the CA1 region: one of them presumably derived from the thalamic reuniens nucleus, and established asymmetric synapses on dendrites and spines. The other type originating from local interneurons formed symmetric synapses on both pyramidal and interneuron dendrites. Distribution of postsynaptic targets showed that 26.8% of the targets were CR-positive interneuron dendrites, and 25.2% proved to be proximal pyramidal dendrites. CR-negative interneuron dendrites were also contacted (12.4%). Small caliber postsynaptic dendrites were not classified (28%). Somata were rarely contacted (7.6%). The present data suggest that calretinin-positive boutons do show a preference for other interneurons, but a considerable proportion of the targets are pyramidal cells. We propose that interneuron-selective inhibitory cells exist in the human Ammon's horn, and boutons innervating pyramidal cells derive from another cell type that might not exist in rodents.