A Barrel-Related Interneuron in Layer 4 of Rat Somatosensory Cortex with a High Intrabarrel Connectivity


Synaptic connections between identified fast-spiking (FS), parvalbumin (PV)-positive interneurons, and excitatory spiny neurons in layer 4 (L4) of the barrel cortex were investigated using patch-clamp recordings and simultaneous biocytin fillings. Three distinct clusters of FS L4 interneurons were identified based on their axonal morphology relative to the barrel column suggesting that these neurons do not constitute a homogeneous interneuron population. One L4 FS interneuron type had an axonal domain strictly confined to a L4 barrel and was therefore named "barrel-confined inhibitory interneuron" (BIn). BIns established reliable inhibitory synaptic connections with L4 spiny neurons at a high connectivity rate of 67%, of which 69% were reciprocal. Unitary IPSPs at these connections had a mean amplitude of 0.9 ± 0.8 mV with little amplitude variation and weak short-term synaptic depression. We found on average 3.7 ± 1.3 putative inhibitory synaptic contacts that were not restricted to perisomatic areas. In conclusion, we characterized a novel type of barrel cortex interneuron in the major thalamo-recipient layer 4 forming dense synaptic networks with L4 spiny neurons. These networks constitute an efficient and powerful inhibitory feedback system, which may serve to rapidly reset the barrel microcircuitry following sensory activation.

DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bht263

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@inproceedings{Klbl2015ABI, title={A Barrel-Related Interneuron in Layer 4 of Rat Somatosensory Cortex with a High Intrabarrel Connectivity}, author={Christian K{\"{o}lbl and Moritz Helmstaedter and Joachim H. R. L{\"{u}bke and Dirk Feldmeyer}, booktitle={Cerebral cortex}, year={2015} }