Laminar difference in GABA uptake and GAT-1 expression in rat CA1


Corresponding author D. Engel: Institut für Physiologie der Charité, Humboldt-Universität, Tucholskystraße 2, 10117 Berlin, Germany. Email:


  • 1The axonal plexus of most hippocampal interneurons is restricted to certain strata within the target region. This lamination suggests a possible functional heterogeneity of inhibitory synapses between different interneurons and CA1 pyramidal cells.
  • 2We therefore compared inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (IPSPs) and currents (IPSCs) in CA1 pyramidal cells, which were evoked from two stimulation sites (stratum oriens and stratum radiatum). Stimulation in stratum oriens yielded faster decaying IPSPs and IPSCs than stimulation in stratum radiatum.
  • 3IPSP and IPSC kinetics were regulated by GABA uptake in both layers as indicated by the prolongation of the signals under tiagabine, a GAT-1 (neuronal GABA plasma membrane transporter)-specific GABA-uptake blocker. However, the effect of tiagabine was significantly more pronounced following stimulation in stratum radiatum than in stratum oriens (prolongation of IPSC half-decay time by 167 vs. 115 %, respectively).
  • 4In situ hybridization with antisense mRNA for the GABA-synthesizing enzyme glutamate decarboxylase (GAD65/67) and the GABA transporter GAT-1 showed that the proportion of interneurons expressing GAT-1 was lower in stratum oriens than in stratum radiatum/lacunosum-moleculare.
  • 5From these functional and molecular data we conclude that the regulation of IPSP and IPSC kinetics in CA1 pyramidal cells by neuronal GABA uptake differs between layers. Our findings suggest that this laminar difference is caused by a lower expression of GAT-1 in interneurons in stratum oriens than in stratum radiatum/lacunosum-moleculare.