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Cereb Cortex. 2006 Apr;16(4):541-52. Epub 2005 Jul 20.

Properties of excitatory synaptic responses in fast-spiking interneurons and pyramidal cells from monkey and rat prefrontal cortex.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-2593, USA.


In the prefrontal cortex (PFC) during working memory tasks fast-spiking (FS) interneurons might shape the spatial selectivity of pyramidal cell firing. In order to provide time control of pyramidal cell activity, incoming excitatory inputs should excite FS interneurons more vigorously than pyramidal cells. This can be achieved if subthreshold excitatory responses of interneurons are considerably stronger and faster than those in pyramidal neurons. Here we compared the functional properties of excitatory post-synaptic potentials (EPSPs) between pyramidal cells and FS interneurons in slices from monkey dorsolateral PFC and rat prelimbic cortex. Miniature, unitary (in connected pairs or by minimal stimulation) and compound (evoked by electrical stimulation of the white matter) EPSPs were recorded in whole cell mode. We found that EPSPs were significantly larger and faster in FS interneurons than those recorded from pyramidal cells, consistent with the idea of more efficient recruitment of FS interneurons compared to pyramidal neurons. Similar results were obtained in monkey and rat PFC, suggesting a stable role of FS interneurons in this circuitry across species.

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