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J Neurosci. 2005 Aug 10;25(32):7309-16.

Abrupt maturation of a spike-synchronizing mechanism in neocortex.

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Division of Biology and Medicine, Department of Neuroscience, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02912, USA.


Synchronous activity is common in the neocortex, although its significance, mechanisms, and development are poorly understood. Previous work showed that networks of electrically coupled inhibitory interneurons called low-threshold spiking (LTS) cells can fire synchronously when stimulated by metabotropic glutamate receptors. Here we found that the coordinated inhibition emerging from an activated LTS network could induce correlated spiking patterns among neighboring excitatory cells. Synchronous activity among LTS cells was absent at postnatal day 12 (P12) but appeared abruptly over the next few days. The rapid development of the LTS-synchronizing system coincided with the maturation of the inhibitory outputs and intrinsic membrane properties of the neurons. In contrast, the incidence and magnitude of electrical synapses remained constant between P8 and P15. The developmental transformation of LTS interneurons into a synchronous, oscillatory network overlaps with the onset of active somatosensory exploration, suggesting a potential role for this synchronizing system in sensory processing.

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