Excitatory Effect of GABAergic Axo-Axonic Cells in Cortical Microcircuits

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Science  13 Jan 2006:
Vol. 311, Issue 5758, pp. 233-235
DOI: 10.1126/science.1121325

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Axons in the cerebral cortex receive synaptic input at the axon initial segment almost exclusively from γ-aminobutyric acid–releasing (GABAergic) axo-axonic cells (AACs). The axon has the lowest threshold for action potential generation in neurons; thus, AACs are considered to be strategically placed inhibitory neurons controlling neuronal output. However, we found that AACs can depolarize pyramidal cells and can initiate stereotyped series of synaptic events in rat and human cortical networks because of a depolarized reversal potential for axonal relative to perisomatic GABAergic inputs. Excitation and signal propagation initiated by AACs is supported by the absence of the potassium chloride cotransporter 2 in the axon.

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