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Keywords:

  • adult neurogenesis;
  • parvalbumin-expressing GABAergic interneurons;
  • radial glia-like stem cells;
  • synaptic spillover;
  • γ2 subunit-containing GABAA receptors

Abstract

Newborn neurons are generated in the adult hippocampus from a pool of self-renewing stem cells located in the subgranular zone (SGZ) of the dentate gyrus. Their activation, proliferation, and maturation depend on a host of environmental and cellular factors but, until recently, the contribution of local neuronal circuitry to this process was relatively unknown. In their recent publication, Song and colleagues have uncovered a novel circuit-based mechanism by which release of the neurotransmitter, γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), from parvalbumin-expressing (PV) interneurons, can hold radial glia-like (RGL) stem cells of the adult SGZ in a quiescent state. This tonic GABAergic signal, dependent upon the activation of γ2 subunit-containing GABAA receptors of RGL stem cells, can thus prevent their proliferation and subsequent maturation or return them to quiescence if previously activated. PV interneurons are thus capable of suppressing neurogenesis during periods of high network activity and facilitating neurogenesis when network activity is low.