Neocortical basket cells

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Neo cortical Basket Cell is a neuron found in vertebrates

Neo cortical Basket cell

Image of Neocortical Basket cell

Basic Information

Basket Cells were first described by Cajal in the motor and visual cortex of the human brain. They are small, medium-sized, and large multipolar neurons, whose diameters vary from 12 to 30 µm and whose bodies are located in layers II–VI . BC terminals--basket plexuses and pericellular nestles contact with bodies, axonalhillock and proximal regions of pyramidal neurons dendrites and double-bouquet cells, forming reciprocal relations with them in accordance with domain-selection principle. BC establish ties between each other and interconnect by means of autapses

Neuronal Type: Interneuron.

Variety and Topographical characteristics

BC dendrites are smooth or have few spines, and they appear to have no other specific characteristics. Basket neurons are distinguished from other cortical interneurons by their axons, which pass predominantly in the vertical and horizontal directions. They form long (up to300–700 µm), extensively arborized or straight branch rays in the horizontal, oblique, and vertical directions, covering large areas of the cortex with diameters of up to 1400 µm. A second morphological characteristic is provided by the axon terminals – vertically orientated filaments with large beads and basket-like plexuses or pericellular holes.

Molecular profile

Input Receptors: Glutamate at Distal equivalent dendrite and Gaba at Proximal equivalent dendrites and soma. Output transmitters: Gaba (Gamma-amino butyric acid) acts as output transmitter at Axon terminal.

Anatomical diversity

Anatomical, electrophysiological and molecular diversity of basket cell-like interneurons in layers II–IV of rat somatosensory cortex were studied using patch-clamp electrodes filled with biocytin. This multiparametric study shows that neocortical basket cells (BCs) are composed of three distinct subclasses: classical large (LBC) and small (SBC) basket cells and a third subclass, the nest basket cell (NBC). Anatomically, NBCs were distinct from LBCs and SBCs in that they formed simpler dendritic arbors and an axonal plexus of inter-mediate density, composed of a few long, smooth axonal branches. Electro physiologically, NBCs exhibited diverse discharge responses to depolarizing current injections including accommodation, non-accommodation and stuttering


A hypothesis according to which basket plexus may be thought of as an inhibiting integrator, equaling excitation in a cluster of several pyramidal cells is under substantiation


  1. S. Ramon y Cajal, Histologie du Systeme Nerveux de l’Homme et des Vertebres, Maloine, Paris (1911), Vol. II.
  2. Okhotin VE Kalinichenko SG. [Histophysiology of neocortical basket cells]. Morfologiia (Saint Petersburg, Russia). 2001;120(4):7-24.
  3. The Histophysiology of Neocortical Basket Cells V. E. Okhotin and S. G. Kalinichenko, Neuroscience and Behavioral Physiology, Vol. 32, No. 5, 2002
  4. Anatomical, physiological, molecular and circuit properties of nest basket cells in the developing somatosensory cortex.Wang Y, Gupta A, Toledo-Rodriguez M, Wu CZ, Markram H. PMID: 11884355

Additional Information