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Cereb Cortex. 2017 Jul 1;27(7):3869-3878. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhx094.

Layer-Dependent Short-Term Synaptic Plasticity Between Excitatory Neurons in the C2 Barrel Column of Mouse Primary Somatosensory Cortex.

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Laboratory of Sensory Processing, Brain Mind Institute, Faculty of Life Sciences, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland.
Department of Basic Neurosciences, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.


Neurons process information through spatiotemporal integration of synaptic input. Synaptic transmission between any given pair of neurons is typically a dynamic process with presynaptic action potentials (APs) evoking depressing or facilitating postsynaptic potentials when presynaptic APs occur within hundreds of milliseconds of each other. In order to understand neocortical function, it is therefore important to investigate such short-term synaptic plasticity at synapses between different types of neocortical neurons. Here, we examine short-term synaptic dynamics between excitatory neurons in different layers of the mouse C2 barrel column through in vitro whole-cell recordings. We find layer-dependent short-term plasticity, with depression being dominant at many synaptic connections. Interestingly, however, presynaptic layer 2 neurons predominantly give rise to facilitating excitatory synaptic output at short interspike intervals of 10 and 30 ms. Previous studies have found prominent burst firing of excitatory neurons in supragranular layers of awake mice. The facilitation we observed in the synaptic output of layer 2 may, therefore, be functionally relevant, possibly serving to enhance the postsynaptic impact of burst firing.


barrel cortex; excitatory postsynaptic potentials; neocortical microcircuits; short-term synaptic plasticity; synaptic transmission

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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