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PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e40601. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0040601. Epub 2012 Jul 25.

Fast recruitment of recurrent inhibition in the cat visual cortex.

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Institute for Molecular and Cellular Cognition, ZMNH, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.


Neurons of the same column in L4 of the cat visual cortex are likely to share the same sensory input from the same region of the visual field. Using visually-guided patch clamp recordings we investigated the biophysical properties of the synapses of neighboring layer 4 neurons. We recorded synaptic connections between all types of excitatory and inhibitory neurons in L4. The E-E, E-I, and I-E connections had moderate CVs and failure rates. However, E-I connections had larger amplitudes, faster rise-times, and shorter latencies. Identification of the sites of putative synaptic contacts together with compartmental simulations on 3D reconstructed cells, suggested that E-I synapses tended to be located on proximal dendritic branches, which would explain their larger EPSP amplitudes and faster kinetics. Excitatory and inhibitory synapses were located at the same distance on distal dendrites of excitatory neurons. We hypothesize that this co-localization and the fast recruitment of local inhibition provides an efficient means of modulating excitation in a precisely timed way.

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