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Neo Cortical Basket Cells
Neocortical basket cells are a type of interneuron found in vertebrates.
Basic Information
Basket Cells were first described by Cajal in the motor and visual cortex of the human brain. They are
small, medium-sized, and large multipolar neurons, whose diameters vary from 12 to 30 µm and whose
bodies are located in layers II–VIi. BC terminals--basket plexuses and pericellular nestles contact with
bodies, axonalhillock and proximal regions of pyramidal neurons dendrites and double-bouquet cells,
forming reciprocal relations with them in accordance with domain-selection principle. BC establish ties
between each other and interconnect by means of autapses.ii
Variety and Topographical characteristics
BC dendrites are smooth or have few spines, and they appear to have no
other specific characteristics. Basket neurons are distinguished from other
cortical interneurons by their axons, which pass predominantly in the
vertical and horizontal directions. They form long (up to300–700 µm),
extensively arborized or straight branch rays in the horizontal, oblique, and
vertical directions, covering large areas of the cortex with diameters of up to
1400 µm. A second morphological characteristic is provided by the axon
terminals – vertically orientated filaments with large beads and basket-like
plexuses or pericellular holes.iii
Molecular Profile
Input Receptors: Glutamate at Distal equivalent dendrite and Gaba at Proximal equivalent dendrites and
Output transmitters: Gaba (Gamma-amino butyric acid) acts as output transmitter at Axon terminal. iv
Anatomical diversity
Anatomical, electrophysiological and molecular diversity of basket cell-like interneurons in layers II–IV of
rat somatosensory cortex were studied using patch-clamp electrodes filled with biocytin. This
multiparametric study shows that neocortical basket cells (BCs) are composed of three distinct
subclasses: classical large (LBC) and small (SBC) basket cells and a third subclass, the nest basket cell
(NBC). Anatomically, NBCs were distinct from LBCs and SBCs in that they formed simpler
dendritic arbors and an axonal plexus of inter-mediate density, composed of
a few long, smooth axonal branches. Electro physiologically, NBCs exhibited
diverse discharge responses to depolarizing current injections including
accommodation, non-accommodation and stuttering. v
A hypothesis according to which basket plexus may be thought of as an inhibiting integrator, equaling
excitation in a cluster of several pyramidal cells is under substantiationvi
S. Ramon y Cajal, Histologie du Systeme Nerveux de l’Homme et
des Vertebres, Maloine, Paris (1911), Vol. II.
ii Okhotin VE Kalinichenko SG. [Histophysiology of neocortical basket cells]. Morfologiia (Saint Petersburg, Russia).
iii The Histophysiology of Neocortical Basket Cells V. E. Okhotin and S. G. Kalinichenko, Neuroscience and Behavioral Physiology,
Vol. 32, No. 5, 2002
v Anatomical, physiological, molecular and circuit properties of nest basket cells in the developing somatosensory cortex.
Wang Y, Gupta A, Toledo-Rodriguez M, Wu CZ, Markram H. PMID: 11884355
vi The Histophysiology of Neocortical Basket Cells V. E. Okhotin and S. G. Kalinichenko, Neuroscience and Behavioral Physiology,
Vol. 32, No. 5, 2002