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J Comp Neurol. 1997 Apr 7;380(2):230-42.

Map of the synapses onto layer 4 basket cells of the primary visual cortex of the cat.

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Institute of Neuroinformatics, University of Z├╝rich, Switzerland.


The pattern of excitatory and inhibitory inputs to the inhibitory neurons is largely unknown. We have set out to quantify the major excitatory and inhibitory inputs to layer 4 basket cells from the primary visual cortex of the cat. The synapses formed with the soma, and proximal and distal dendrites, were examined at the light and electron microscopic levels in four basket cells, recorded in vivo and filled with horseradish peroxidase. The major afferents of layer 4 have been well characterised, both at the light and electron microscopic levels. The sizes of the synaptic boutons of the major excitatory inputs to layer 4 from the thalamic relay cells, spiny stellate cells, and layer 6 pyramidal neurons are statistically different. Their distributions were compared to those of the boutons forming asymmetric contacts onto the basket cells, which were assumed to be provided by the same set of excitatory afferents. The best-fit results showed that about equal numbers of synapses were provided by the layer 6 pyramids (43%) and the spiny stellates (44%), whereas the thalamic afferents contributed only 13%. A similar analysis on the symmetric synaptic input to the basket cells indicated that as much as 79% of the symmetric synapses could have originated from layer 4 basket cells. Thalamic and spiny stellate synapses were preferentially located on the soma and proximal dendrites, regions that also had 76% of all the symmetric contracts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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