Taking advantage of transgenic mice with genetically labeled GABA-releasing interneurons, we examined the cell-specific patterns of mGluR expression in two broadly defined subtypes of inhibitory interneurons in layer IV of somatosensory cortex. Electrophysiological recording combined with application of specific agonists for specific mGluRs demonstrated different effects of mGluR activation in fast-spiking (FS) versus regular spiking nonpyramidal (RSNP) interneurons. Whereas activation of group I, II, and III mGluRs inhibited excitatory synaptic transmission in RSNP neurons predominantly via postsynaptic mechanisms, group I mGluR activation depolarized FS but not RSNP interneurons. Immunoreactivities of mGluR1, mGluR5, mGluR2/3, and mGluR8 exhibited different cellular expression patterns in the two groups of neurons that were not entirely consistent with physiological and pharmacological experiments. Taken together, our data indicate cell and circuit-specific roles for mGluRs in modulating inhibitory circuits in the somatosensory cortex. These results help to reinforce the concept that RSNP and FS cells represent morphologically, physiologically, and functionally distinct groups of interneurons. The results reported here help to increase our understanding of the roles of mGluRs in endogenous glutamatergic-induced plasticity of interneuronal networks.
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