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Nature. 2013 Jun 20;498(7454):363-6. doi: 10.1038/nature12176. Epub 2013 May 26.

Distinct behavioural and network correlates of two interneuron types in prefrontal cortex.

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Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 1 Bungtown Road, Cold Spring Harbor, New York 11724, USA.


Neurons in the prefrontal cortex exhibit diverse behavioural correlates, an observation that has been attributed to cell-type diversity. To link identified neuron types with network and behavioural functions, we recorded from the two largest genetically defined inhibitory interneuron classes, the perisomatically targeting parvalbumin (PV) and the dendritically targeting somatostatin (SOM) neurons in anterior cingulate cortex of mice performing a reward foraging task. Here we show that PV and a subtype of SOM neurons form functionally homogeneous populations showing a double dissociation between both their inhibitory effects and behavioural correlates. Out of several events pertaining to behaviour, a subtype of SOM neurons selectively responded at reward approach, whereas PV neurons responded at reward leaving and encoded preceding stay duration. These behavioural correlates of PV and SOM neurons defined a behavioural epoch and a decision variable important for foraging (whether to stay or to leave), a crucial function attributed to the anterior cingulate cortex. Furthermore, PV neurons could fire in millisecond synchrony, exerting fast and powerful inhibition on principal cell firing, whereas the inhibitory effect of SOM neurons on firing output was weak and more variable, consistent with the idea that they respectively control the outputs of, and inputs to, principal neurons. These results suggest a connection between the circuit-level function of different interneuron types in regulating the flow of information and the behavioural functions served by the cortical circuits. Moreover, these observations bolster the hope that functional response diversity during behaviour can in part be explained by cell-type diversity.

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