Unbiased, High-Throughput Electron Microscopy Analysis of Experience-Dependent Synaptic Changes in the Neocortex.
Information processing in neocortical circuits requires integrating inputs over a wide range of spatial scales, from local microcircuits to long-range cortical and subcortical connections. We used rabies virus-based trans-synaptic tracing to analyze the laminar distribution of local and long-range inputs to pyramidal neurons in the mouse barrel cortex and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). In barrel cortex, we found substantial inputs from layer 3 (L3) to L6, prevalent translaminar inhibitory inputs, and long-range inputs to L2/3 or L5/6 preferentially from L2/3 or L5/6 of input cortical areas, respectively. These layer-specific input patterns were largely independent of NMDA receptor function in the recipient neurons. mPFC L5 received proportionally more long-range inputs and more local inhibitory inputs than barrel cortex L5. Our results provide new insight into the organization and development of neocortical networks and identify important differences in the circuit organization in sensory and association cortices.