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Nat Neurosci. 2000 Jul;3(7):701-7.

Laminar sources of synaptic input to cortical inhibitory interneurons and pyramidal neurons.

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Systems Neurobiology Laboratories, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, 10010 N. Torrey Pines Rd., La Jolla, California, 92037, USA.


The functional role of an individual neuron within a cortical circuit is largely determined by that neuron's synaptic input. We examined the laminar sources of local input to subtypes of cortical neurons in layer 2/3 of rat visual cortex using laser scanning photostimulation. We identified three distinct laminar patterns of excitatory input that correspond to physiological and morphological subtypes of neurons. Fast-spiking inhibitory basket cells and excitatory pyramidal neurons received strong excitatory input from middle cortical layers. In contrast, adapting inhibitory interneurons received their strongest excitatory input either from deep layers or laterally from within layer 2/3. Thus, differential laminar sources of excitatory inputs contribute to the functional diversity of cortical inhibitory interneurons.

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