Dual midbrain and forebrain origins of thalamic inhibitory interneurons

Polona Jager, Gerald Moore, Padraic Calpin, Xhuljana Durmishi, Irene Salgarella, Lucy Menage, Yoshiaki Kita, Yan Wang, Dong Won Kim, Seth Blackshaw, Simon R. Schultz, Stephen Brickley, Tomomi Shimogori, Alessio Delogu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The ubiquitous presence of inhibitory interneurons in the thalamus of primates contrasts with the sparsity of interneurons reported in mice. Here, we identify a larger than expected complexity and distribution of interneurons across the mouse thalamus, where all thalamic interneurons can be traced back to two developmental programmes: one specified in the midbrain and the other in the forebrain. Interneurons migrate to functionally distinct thalamocortical nuclei depending on their origin: the abundant, midbrain-derived class populates the first and higher order sensory thalamus while the rarer, forebrain-generated class is restricted to some higher order associative regions. We also observe that markers for the midbrain-born class are abundantly expressed throughout the thalamus of the New World monkey marmoset. These data therefore reveal that, despite the broad variability in interneuron density across mammalian species, the blueprint of the ontogenetic organisation of thalamic interneurons of larger-brained mammals exists and can be studied in mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere59272
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
StatePublished - Feb 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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