Molecular and functional properties of neurons in the human lateral amygdala

Kerstin Hüttmann, Deniz Yilmazer-Hanke, Gerald Seifert, Johannes Schramm, Hans Christian Pape, Christian Steinhäuser

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Neuronal properties were investigated through patch-clamp recording in situ in surgical specimens of the human lateral amygdala (LA) obtained from patients with intractable temporal lobe epilepsy. Projection neurons displayed spiny dendrites, action potentials with varying degree of frequency adaptation, and an inwardly rectifying K+ (Kir) conductance coupled to GABAB receptors. In interneurons, dendrites were spineless or sparsely spiny, action potentials were shorter than those in projection neurons and often occurred spontaneously, and GABAB receptor-mediated responses were lacking. Single-cell RT-PCR demonstrated expression of Kir channel subunits Kir3.1 and Kir3.2 and of vesicular glutamate transporters VGLUT1 and VGLUT2 in projection neurons. It is concluded that projection neurons and interneurons of the human LA can be distinguished based upon morphological, electrophysiological, and molecular biological criteria. The most striking difference relates to the expression of postsynaptic GABAB receptors coupled to Kir3 channels in projection neurons and the lack of functional GABAB receptors in interneurons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-217
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular and Cellular Neurosciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2006
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Developmental Neuroscience

Cite this

Hüttmann, K., Yilmazer-Hanke, D., Seifert, G., Schramm, J., Pape, H. C., & Steinhäuser, C. (2006). Molecular and functional properties of neurons in the human lateral amygdala. Molecular and Cellular Neurosciences, 31(2), 210-217.