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Diverse neocortical GABAergic neurons specialize in synaptic targeting and their effects are modulated by presynaptic metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) suppressing neurotransmitter release in rodents, but their effects in human neocortex are unknown. We tested whether activation of group III mGluRs by L-AP4 changes GABAA receptor-mediated spontaneous inhibitory postsynaptic currents (sIPSCs) in 2 distinct dendritic spine-innervating GABAergic interneurons recorded in vitro in human neocortex. Calbindin-positive double bouquet cells (DBCs) had columnar "horsetail" axons descending through layers II-V innervating dendritic spines (48%) and shafts, but not somata of pyramidal and nonpyramidal neurons. Parvalbumin-expressing dendrite-targeting cell (PV-DTC) axons extended in all directions innervating dendritic spines (22%), shafts (65%), and somata (13%). As measured, 20% of GABAergic neuropil synapses innervate spines, hence DBCs, but not PV-DTCs, preferentially select spine targets. Group III mGluR activation paradoxically increased the frequency of sIPSCs in DBCs (to median 137% of baseline) but suppressed it in PV-DTCs (median 92%), leaving the amplitude unchanged. The facilitation of sIPSCs in DBCs may result from their unique GABAergic input being disinhibited via network effect. We conclude that dendritic spines receive specialized, diverse GABAergic inputs, and group III mGluRs differentially regulate GABAergic synaptic transmission to distinct GABAergic cell types in human cortex.

Original publication




Journal article


Cereb Cortex

Publication Date



GABAA receptor, L-AP4, cell type, inhibition, presynaptic receptor