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J Physiol. 2012 Feb 15;590(4):669-81. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2011.226175. Epub 2012 Jan 16.

Functional characteristics of parvalbumin- and cholecystokinin-expressing basket cells.

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Physiologisches Institut I, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Hermann-Herder Straße 7, 79104 Freiburg, Germany.


Cortical neuronal network operations depend critically on the recruitment of GABAergic interneurons and the properties of their inhibitory output signals. Recent evidence indicates a marked difference in the signalling properties of two major types of perisomatic inhibitory interneurons, the parvalbumin- and the cholecystokinin-containing basket cells. Parvalbumin-expressing basket cells are rapidly recruited by excitatory synaptic inputs, generate high-frequency trains of action potentials, discharge single action potentials phase-locked to fast network oscillations and provide fast, stable and timed inhibitory output onto their target cells. In contrast, cholecystokinin-containing basket cells are recruited in a less reliable manner, discharge at moderate frequencies with single action potentials weakly coupled to the phases of fast network oscillations and generate an asynchronous, fluctuating and less timed inhibitory output. These signalling modes are based on cell type-dependent differences in the functional and plastic properties of excitatory input synapses, integrative qualities and in the kinetics and dynamics of inhibitory output synapses. Thus, the two perisomatic inhibitory interneuron types operate with different speed and precision and may therefore contribute differently to the operations of neuronal networks.

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