The functions of local interneurons in the AOB are not well understood. The three major known types of interneurons in the AOB are:
- Juxtaglomerular cells (JGs, not shown)
- Internal granule cells (IGCs, orange and yellow)
- External granule cells (EGCs, red)
These interneurons lack axons, and as such utilize nontraditional so-called "reciprocal" or "dendro-dendritic" synapses to communicate with other neurons in the circuit. The most important are output neurons called mitral cells (MCs, gray). The often-inhibitory interactions between mitral and granule cells are known to be critical for "proper" AOB function, but we do not yet know much about what those "proper" functions are.
We are utilizing transgenic mice, in which we can identify and manipulate specific interneuron types in the AOB to reveal their functions in the circuit. Meeks Lab uses these transgenic strategies to identify differences in intrinsic physiology and synaptic function by performing whole cell patch clamp recordings. We also utilize imaging techniques to study signal propagation through their dendrites and synaptic terminals.