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GABA; array tomography; myelin


Numerous types of inhibitory neurons sculpt the performance of human neocortical circuits, with each type exhibiting a constellation of subcellular phenotypic features in support of its specialized functions. Axonal myelination has been absent among the characteristics used to distinguish inhibitory neuron types; in fact, very little is known about myelinated inhibitory axons in human neocortex. Here, using array tomography to analyze samples of neurosurgically excised human neocortex, we show that inhibitory myelinated axons originate predominantly from parvalbumin-containing interneurons. Compared to myelinated excitatory axons, they have higher neurofilament and lower microtubule content, shorter nodes of Ranvier, and more myelin basic protein (MBP) in their myelin sheath. Furthermore, these inhibitory axons have more mitochondria, likely to sustain the high energy demands of parvalbumin interneurons, as well as more 2',3'-cyclic nucleotide 3'-phosphodiesterase (CNP), a protein enriched in the myelin cytoplasmic channels that are thought to facilitate the delivery of nutrients from ensheathing oligodendrocytes. Our results demonstrate that myelinated axons of parvalbumin inhibitory interneurons exhibit distinctive features that may support the specialized functions of this neuron type in human neocortical circuits.

Clinical Institute

Neurosciences (Brain & Spine)



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