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Neuron. 2019 Nov 1. pii: S0896-6273(19)30884-0. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2019.10.011. [Epub ahead of print]

Cortical Output Is Gated by Horizontally Projecting Neurons in the Deep Layers.

Author information

1
Max Planck Research Group In Silico Brain Sciences, Center of Advanced European Studies and Research (caesar), Ludwig-Erhard-Allee 2, 53175 Bonn, Germany.
2
Department of Integrative Neurophysiology, Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research, VU Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081 Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
3
Max Planck Research Group In Silico Brain Sciences, Center of Advanced European Studies and Research (caesar), Ludwig-Erhard-Allee 2, 53175 Bonn, Germany. Electronic address: marcel.oberlaender@caesar.de.

Abstract

Pyramidal tract neurons (PTs) represent the major output cell type of the mammalian neocortex. Here, we report the origins of the PTs' ability to respond to a broad range of stimuli with onset latencies that rival or even precede those of their intracortical input neurons. We find that neurons with extensive horizontally projecting axons cluster around the deep-layer terminal fields of primary thalamocortical axons. The strategic location of these corticocortical neurons results in high convergence of thalamocortical inputs, which drive reliable sensory-evoked responses that precede those in other excitatory cell types. The resultant fast and horizontal stream of excitation provides PTs throughout the cortical area with input that acts to amplify additional inputs from thalamocortical and other intracortical populations. The fast onsets and broadly tuned characteristics of PT responses hence reflect a gating mechanism in the deep layers, which assures that sensory-evoked input can be reliably transformed into cortical output.

KEYWORDS:

barrel cortex; corticocortical neurons; in silico; pyramidal tract neurons; synchrony

PMID:
31784285
DOI:
10.1016/j.neuron.2019.10.011
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