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Elife. 2016 Aug 23;5. pii: e14985. doi: 10.7554/eLife.14985.

Behavioral-state modulation of inhibition is context-dependent and cell type specific in mouse visual cortex.

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Centre for Integrative Physiology, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
Institute for Adaptive and Neural Computation, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
Bernstein Center Freiburg, Faculty of Biology, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany.


Cortical responses to sensory stimuli are modulated by behavioral state. In the primary visual cortex (V1), visual responses of pyramidal neurons increase during locomotion. This response gain was suggested to be mediated through inhibitory neurons, resulting in the disinhibition of pyramidal neurons. Using in vivo two-photon calcium imaging in layers 2/3 and 4 in mouse V1, we reveal that locomotion increases the activity of vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP), somatostatin (SST) and parvalbumin (PV)-positive interneurons during visual stimulation, challenging the disinhibition model. In darkness, while most VIP and PV neurons remained locomotion responsive, SST and excitatory neurons were largely non-responsive. Context-dependent locomotion responses were found in each cell type, with the highest proportion among SST neurons. These findings establish that modulation of neuronal activity by locomotion is context-dependent and contest the generality of a disinhibitory circuit for gain control of sensory responses by behavioral state.


V1; awake behaving mouse; behavioral state; inhibitory neurons; locomotion; mouse; neuroscience; primary visual cortex; somatostatin; vision; visual cortex

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