Characterization and Distribution of Reelin-Positive Interneuron Subtypes in the Rat Barrel Cortex

  • GABAergic inhibitory interneurons (IN) represent a heterogeneous population with different electrophysiological, morphological, and molecular properties. The correct balance between interneuronal subtypes is important for brain function and is impaired in several neurological and psychiatric disorders. Here we show the data of 123 molecularly and electrophysiologically characterized neurons of juvenile rat barrel cortex acute slices, 48 of which expressed Reelin (Reln). Reln mRNA was exclusively detected in Gad65/67-positive cells but was found in interneuronal subtypes in different proportions: all cells of the adapting-Somatostatin (SST) cluster expressed Reln, whereas 63% of the adapting-neuropeptide Y (NPY, 50% of the fast-spiking Parvalbumin (PVALB), and 27% of the adapting/bursting-Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide (VIP) cluster were Reln-positive. Silhouette analysis revealed a high impact of the parameter Reln on cluster quality. By analyzing the co-localization of RELN immunoreactivity with those of different IN-markers, we found that RELN is produced layer-independently in SST-, NPY-, and NOS1-expressing INs, whereas co-localization of RELN and VIP was mostly absent. Of note, RELN co-localized with PVALB, predominantly in INs of layers IV/V (>30%). Our findings emphasize RELN's role as an important IN-marker protein and provide a basis for the functional characterization of Reln-expressing INs and its role in the regulation of inhibitory IN networks.

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