Send to

Choose Destination
J Neurosci. 2007 Feb 21;27(8):2058-73.

Synchronization of electrically coupled pairs of inhibitory interneurons in neocortex.

Author information

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


We performed a systematic analysis of phase locking in pairs of electrically coupled neocortical fast-spiking (FS) and low-threshold-spiking (LTS) interneurons and in a conductance-based model of a pair of FS cells. Phase-response curves (PRCs) were obtained for real interneurons and the model cells. We used PRCs and the theory of weakly coupled oscillators to make predictions about phase-locking characteristics of cell pairs. Phase locking and the robustness of phase-locked states to differences in intrinsic frequencies of cells were directly examined by driving interneuron pairs through a wide range of firing frequencies. Calculations using PRCs accurately predicted that electrical coupling robustly synchronized the firing of interneurons over all frequencies studied (FS, approximately 25-80 Hz; LTS, approximately 10-30 Hz). The synchronizing ability of electrical coupling and the robustness of the phase-locked states were directly dependent on the strength of coupling but not on firing frequency. The FS cell model also predicted the existence of stable antiphase firing at frequencies below approximately 30 Hz, but no evidence for stable antiphase firing was found using the experimentally determined PRCs or in direct measures of phase locking in pairs of interneurons. Despite significant differences in biophysical properties of FS and LTS cells, their phase-locking behavior was remarkably similar. The wide spikes and shallow action potential afterhyperpolarizations of interneurons, compared with the model, prohibited antiphase behavior. Electrical coupling between cortical interneurons of the same type maintained robust synchronous firing of cell pairs for up to approximately 10% heterogeneity in their intrinsic frequencies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center