GABAergic neurogliaform cells represent local sources of insulin in the cerebral cortex

Molnár, G., Faragó, N., Kocsis, ÁK., Rózsa, M., Lovas, S., Boldog, E., Báldi, R., Csajbók, É., Gardi, J., Puskás, LG.,  and Tamás, G.

Concentrations of insulin in the brain are severalfold higher than blood plasma levels. Insulin in the brain regulates the metabolism, molecular composition, and cognitive performance of microcircuits and reduces food intake; cerebral insulin levels are altered in diabetes, aging, obesity, and Alzheimer’s disease. Released by pancreatic β cells, insulin passes the blood-brain barrier, but sources of locally released insulin still remain unclear. We find that insulin is strongly expressed in GABAergic neurogliaform cells in the cerebral cortex of the rat detected by single-cell digital PCR. Focal application of glucose or glibenclamide to neurogliaform cells mimics the excitation suppressing effect of external insulin on local microcircuits via insulin receptors. Thus, neurogliaform cells might link GABAergic and insulinergic action in cortical microcircuits.