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J Physiol. 1994 Apr 15;476(2):203-15.

Separate activation of fast and slow inhibitory postsynaptic potentials in rat neocortex in vitro.

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Department of Neurology, State University of New York Health Science Center at Brooklyn 11203.


Synaptic inhibition was investigated by stimulating inhibitory neurones with focal microapplications of glutamate, while recording from layer V pyramidal neurones of rat somatosensory cortical slices. One class of inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (IPSPs) thus elicited was characterized as a fast, chloride-mediated, GABAA IPSP in part by its fast time-to-peak (mean 2.5 ms) and brief duration, but primarily on the basis of its reversal potential at -68 mV, and its blockade by picrotoxin. The average peak amplitude for these fast IPSPs was -1.5 mV, measured at -60 mV. The peak conductance calculated for these events was about 10 nS. The conductance change associated with the maximal fast inhibitory postsynaptic potential resulting from electrical stimulation of afferent pathways ranged up to 116 nS. A second class of IPSP was encountered much less frequently. These glutamate-triggered events were characterized as slow, potassium-mediated GABAB IPSPs partly because of their longer times-to-peak (mean, 45 ms) and duration, but especially because of their extrapolated equilibrium potential at about -89 mV and blockade by 2-hydroxysaclofen. The average peak amplitude for these slow IPSPs was -2.3 mV, measured at -60 mV. The peak conductance for these events was about 8 nS. IPSPs resulting from the excitation of individual inhibitory interneurones were elicited by glutamate microapplication at particular locations relative to recording sites. Both fast and slow IPSPs were generated, but these occurred as separate events, and mixed responses were never seen. Thus, the two mechanistically distinct types of IPSPs which result from GABA interaction at GABAA and GABAB receptors on neocortical neurones may be mediated by separate classes of inhibitory neurones.

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