Subtypes of substance P receptor immunoreactive interneurons in the rat basolateral amygdala

Liat Levita, Irakli Mania, Donald Gordon Rainnie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Local injections of the neurotoxin SP-saporin into the basolateral amygdala (BLA) are reported to specifically lesion substance P receptor immunoreactive (SPR-IR) interneurons, and to reduce anxiety related behavior. Hence, this technique might provide a means to study how defined interneuron populations regulate neuronal activity in the BLA. However, what interneuron subgroups in the BLA might be targeted by SP-saporin lesions has not been established. This study has used dual-labeling immunofluorescence in the rat BLA to examine SPR-IR neurons for their colocalization with the calcium-binding proteins; calbindin-D28k (CB), parvalbumin (PV), and calretinin (CR); and the neuropeptides somatostatin (SOM) and neuropeptide Y (NPY). We found that all NPY-IR neurons and 45% of SOM-IR interneurons expressed SPR-IR, and that 50% and 51% of the SPR-IR interneuron population expressed NPY- and SOM-IR, respectively. Previous studies have reported that approximately a third of SOM-IR interneurons also express NPY, which suggests a large degree of overlap between the NPY, SOM and SPR expressing neurons in the BLA. We also found that the majority of SPR-IR cells were CB-IR (62%), but that these interneurons represented only 2.8% of the total CB-IR population. Moreover, SPR-IR interneurons did not express either PV-or CR- IR. Hence, SP-saporin lesions would ablate all interneurons in the BLA that contain NPY, but leave the majority of the CB-IR cells intact, and have no effect on the CR- and PV-IR populations. Consequently, these results support the use of SP-saporin lesions as a useful technique to study the role of NPY-IR interneurons in the BLA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-51
Number of pages11
JournalBrain research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • Amygdala
  • Animals
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Cell Count
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Interneurons
  • Male
  • Neuropeptide Y
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Neurokinin-1
  • Somatostatin

Cite this