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Differential expression of Kv3.1b and Kv3.2 potassium channel subunits in interneurons of the basolateral amygdala.

A J McDonald, F Mascagni

Neuroscience, 2006 , 138, 537-47

The expression of Kv3.1 and Kv3.2 voltage-gated potassium channel subunits appears to be critical for high-frequency firing of many neuronal populations. In the cortex these subunits are mainly associated with fast-firing GABAergic interneurons containing parvalbumin or somatostatin. Since the basolateral nuclear complex of the amygdala contains similar interneurons, it is of interest to determine if these potassium channel subunits are expressed in these same interneuronal subpopulations. To investigate this issue, peroxidase and dual-labeling fluorescence immunohistochemistry combined with confocal laser scanning microscopy was used to determine which interneuronal subpopulations in the basolateral nuclear complex of the rat amygdala express Kv3.1b and Kv3.2 subunits. Antibodies to parvalbumin, somatostatin, calretinin, and cholecystokinin were used to label separate subsets of basolateral amygdalar interneurons. Examination of immunoperoxidase preparations suggested that the expression of both channels was restricted to nonpyramidal interneurons in the basolateral amygdala. Somata and proximal dendrites were intensely-stained, and axon terminals arising from presumptive basket cells and chandelier cells were lightly stained. Immunofluorescence observations revealed that parvalbumin+ neurons were the main interneuronal subpopulation expressing the Kv3.1b potassium channel subunit in the basolateral amygdala. More than 92-96% of parvalbumin+ neurons were Kv3.1b+, depending on the nucleus. These parvalbumin+/Kv3.1b+ double-labeled cells constituted 90-99% of all Kv3.1b+ neurons. Parvalbumin+ neurons were also the main interneuronal subpopulation expressing the Kv3.2 potassium channel subunit. More than 67-78% of parvalbumin+ neurons were Kv3.2+, depending on the nucleus. However, these parvalbumin+/Kv3.2+ double-labeled cells constituted only 71-81% of all Kv3.2+ neurons. Most of the remaining neurons with significant levels of the Kv3.2 subunit were somatostatin+ interneurons. These Kv3.2-containing somatostatin+ interneurons constituted 27-50% of the somatostatin+ population, depending on the nucleus in question. These data suggest that both fast-firing and burst-firing parvalbumin+ interneurons in the basolateral amygdala express the Kv3.1b subunit. The significance of Kv3.2 expression in some parvalbumin+ and somatostatin+ interneurons remains to be determined.