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J Neurosci. 1992 Jan;12(1):319-29.

Correlation between intrinsic firing patterns and thalamocortical synaptic responses of neurons in mouse barrel cortex.

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Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, California 94305.


We used a thalamocortical slice preparation to record both spike trains and synaptically evoked responses from neurons of mouse barrel cortex. Cells were classified as regular spiking (RS), intrinsically bursting (IB), or fast spiking (FS) according to their temporal firing patterns when injected with current. RS cells were further separated into two subtypes, RS1 and RS2 cells, the latter encountered only in the infragranular layers. Synaptic responses were elicited by focal electrical stimuli in the ventrobasal nucleus of the thalamus (VB) while holding the cells at different membrane potentials. Postsynaptic potentials were classified as excitatory (EPSPs) or inhibitory (IPSPs), and their latencies were measured from the onset of the extracellularly recorded fiber volley in layer IV. EPSPs fell into three groups, according to latency. Those in the early cluster had latencies shorter than 1 msec and were coincident with the postsynaptic layer IV population response; they were considered monosynaptic. A second group, with latencies between 1.3 and 2.5 msec, were coincident with all IPSPs and were classified as disynaptic. The rest had latencies longer than 5 msec and were considered polysynaptic. The synaptic order of a cell was correlated with its laminar position and its electrophysiological class. Specifically, monosynaptic responses were restricted to infragranular RS cells and to FS cells, while disynaptic EPSPs were found in supragranular RS cells and in IB cells. Disynaptic IPSPs were found in both deep and superficial layers; in the deep layers they nearly always followed monosynaptic EPSPs, while in the superficial layers they were mostly found in isolation. We conclude that the intrinsic spiking characteristics of a neuron are an important determinant of its position in the cortical circuit and may have a substantial role in determining its response properties.

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