Chandelier Cartridge Density Is Reduced in the Prefrontal Cortex in Autism

Sarwat Amina, Carmen Falcone, Tiffany Hong, Marisol Wendy Wolf-Ochoa, Gelareh Vakilzadeh, Erik Allen, Rosalia Perez-Castro, Maryam Kargar, Stephen Noctor, Verónica Martínez-Cerdeño

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


An alteration in the balance of excitation-inhibition has been proposed as a common characteristic of the cerebral cortex in autism, which may be due to an alteration in the number and/or function of the excitatory and/or inhibitory cells that form the cortical circuitry. We previously found a decreased number of the parvalbumin (PV)+ interneuron known as Chandelier (Ch) cell in the prefrontal cortex in autism. This decrease could result from a decreased number of Ch cells, but also from decreased PV protein expression by Ch cells. To further determine if Ch cell number is altered in autism, we quantified the number of Ch cells following a different approach and different patient cohort than in our previous studies. We quantified the number of Ch cell cartridges-rather than Ch cell somata-that expressed GAT1-rather than PV. Specifically, we quantified GAT1+ cartridges in prefrontal areas BA9, BA46, and BA47 of 11 cases with autism and 11 control cases. We found that the density of GAT1+ cartridges was decreased in autism in all areas and layers. Whether this alteration is cause or effect remains unclear but could result from alterations that take place during cortical prenatal and/or postnatal development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2944-2951
Number of pages8
JournalCerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991)
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 10 2021


  • autism
  • cartridge
  • chandelier cell
  • GAT1
  • parvalbumin
  • postmortem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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