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Characterization of axo-axonic synapses in the piriform cortex of Mus musculus

Authors

  • Xinjun Wang,

    1. Department of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming 82071
    2. Neuroscience Program, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming 82071
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  • Qian-Quan Sun

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming 82071
    • Department of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 82071
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Abstract

Previous anatomical and physiological studies have established major glutamatergic and GABAergic neuronal subtypes within the piriform cortical circuits. However, quantitative information regarding axo-axonic inhibitory synapses mediated by chandelier cells across major cortical subdivisions of piriform cortex is lacking. Therefore, we examined the properties of these synapses across the entire piriform cortex. Our results show the following. 1) γ-Aminobutyric acid membrane transporter 1-positive varicosities, whose appearance resembles chandelier cartridges, are found around the initial segments of axons of glutamatergic cells across layers II and III. 2) Both the density of axo-axonic cartridges and the degree of γ-aminobutyric acid membrane transporter 1 innervation in each axo-axonic synapse are significantly higher in the piriform cortex than in the neocortex. 3) Glutamate decarboxylase 67, vesicular GABA transporter, and parvalbumin, but not calbindin, are colocalized with the presynaptic varicosities, whereas gephyrin, Na-K-2Cl cotransporter 1, and GABAA receptor α1 subunit, but not K-Cl cotransporter 2, are colocalized at the presumed postsynaptic sites. 4) The axo-axonic cartridges innervate the majority of excitatory neurons and are distributed more frequently in putative centrifugal cells and posterior piriform cortex. We further describe the morphology of chandelier cells by using parvalbumin-immunoreactivity and single-cell labeling. In summary, our results demonstrate that a small population of chandelier cells mediates abundant axo-axonic synapses across the entire piriform cortex. Because of the critical location of these inhibitory synapses in relation to action potential regulation, our results highlight a critical role of axo-axonic synapses in regulating information flow and olfactory-related oscillations within the piriform cortex in vivo. J. Comp. Neurol., 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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