Local Integration Accounts for Weak Selectivity of Mouse Neocortical Parvalbumin Interneurons.
ABSTRACT: Dissecting the functional roles of excitatory and inhibitory neurons in cortical circuits is a fundamental goal in neuroscience. Of particular interest are their roles in emergent cortical computations such as binocular integration in primary visual cortex (V1). We measured the binocular response selectivity of genetically defined subpopulations of excitatory and inhibitory neurons. Parvalbumin (PV+) interneurons received strong inputs from both eyes but lacked selectivity for binocular disparity. Because broad selectivity could result from heterogeneous synaptic input from neighboring neurons, we examined how individual PV+ interneuron selectivity compared to that of the local neuronal network, which is primarily composed of excitatory neurons. PV+ neurons showed functional similarity to neighboring neuronal populations over spatial distances resembling measurements of synaptic connectivity. On the other hand, excitatory neurons expressing CaMKII? displayed no such functional similarity with the neighboring population. Our findings suggest that broad selectivity of PV+ interneurons results from nonspecific integration within local networks. VIDEO ABSTRACT.
Project description:Somatostatin (SST) is a neuropeptide expressed in a major subtype of GABAergic interneurons in the cortex. Despite abundant expression of SST and its receptors, their modulatory function in cortical processing remains unclear. Here, we found that SST application in the primary visual cortex (V1) improves visual discrimination in freely moving mice and enhances orientation selectivity of V1 neurons. We also found that SST reduced excitatory synaptic transmission to parvalbumin-positive (PV+) fast-spiking interneurons but not to regular-spiking neurons. Last, using serial block-face scanning electron microscopy (SBEM), we found that axons of SST+ neurons in V1 often contact other axons that exhibit excitatory synapses onto the soma and proximal dendrites of the PV+ neuron. Collectively, our results demonstrate that the neuropeptide SST improves visual perception by enhancing visual gain of V1 neurons via a reduction in excitatory synaptic transmission to PV+ inhibitory neurons.
Project description:Early sensory experience instructs the maturation of neural circuitry in the cortex. This has been studied extensively in the primary visual cortex, in which loss of vision to one eye permanently degrades cortical responsiveness to that eye, a phenomenon known as ocular dominance plasticity (ODP). Cortical inhibition mediates this process, but the precise role of specific classes of inhibitory neurons in ODP is controversial. Here we report that evoked firing rates of binocular excitatory neurons in the primary visual cortex immediately drop by half when vision is restricted to one eye, but gradually return to normal over the following twenty-four hours, despite the fact that vision remains restricted to one eye. This restoration of binocular-like excitatory firing rates after monocular deprivation results from a rapid, although transient, reduction in the firing rates of fast-spiking, parvalbumin-positive (PV) interneurons, which in turn can be attributed to a decrease in local excitatory circuit input onto PV interneurons. This reduction in PV-cell-evoked responses after monocular lid suture is restricted to the critical period for ODP and appears to be necessary for subsequent shifts in excitatory ODP. Pharmacologically enhancing inhibition at the time of sight deprivation blocks ODP and, conversely, pharmacogenetic reduction of PV cell firing rates can extend the critical period for ODP. These findings define the microcircuit changes initiating competitive plasticity during critical periods of cortical development. Moreover, they show that the restoration of evoked firing rates of layer 2/3 pyramidal neurons by PV-specific disinhibition is a key step in the progression of ODP.
Project description:Neuronal stimulus selectivity is shaped by feedforward and recurrent excitatory-inhibitory interactions. In the auditory cortex (AC), parvalbumin- (PV) and somatostatin-positive (SOM) inhibitory interneurons differentially modulate frequency-dependent responses of excitatory neurons. Responsiveness of neurons in the AC to sound is also dependent on stimulus history. We found that the inhibitory effects of SOMs and PVs diverged as a function of adaptation to temporal repetition of tones. Prior to adaptation, suppressing either SOM or PV inhibition drove both increases and decreases in excitatory spiking activity. After adaptation, suppressing SOM activity caused predominantly disinhibitory effects, whereas suppressing PV activity still evoked bi-directional changes. SOM, but not PV-driven inhibition, dynamically modulated frequency tuning with adaptation. Unlike PV-driven inhibition, SOM-driven inhibition elicited gain-like increases in frequency tuning reflective of adaptation. Our findings suggest that distinct cortical interneurons differentially shape tuning to sensory stimuli across the neuronal receptive field, altering frequency selectivity of excitatory neurons during adaptation.
Project description:The canonical cortical microcircuit has principally been defined by interlaminar excitatory connections among the six layers of the neocortex. However, excitatory neurons in layer 6 (L6), a layer whose functional organization is poorly understood, form relatively rare synaptic connections with other cortical excitatory neurons. Here, we show that the vast majority of parvalbumin inhibitory neurons in a sublamina within L6 send axons through the cortical layers toward the pia. These interlaminar inhibitory neurons receive local synaptic inputs from both major types of L6 excitatory neurons and receive stronger input from thalamocortical afferents than do neighboring pyramidal neurons. The distribution of these interlaminar interneurons and their synaptic connectivity further support a functional subdivision within the standard six layers of the cortex. Positioned to integrate local and long-distance inputs in this sublayer, these interneurons generate an inhibitory interlaminar output. These findings call for a revision to the canonical cortical microcircuit.
Project description:Inhibitory interneurons are essential components of the neural circuits underlying various brain functions. In the neocortex, a large diversity of GABA (?-aminobutyric acid) interneurons has been identified on the basis of their morphology, molecular markers, biophysical properties and innervation pattern. However, how the activity of each subtype of interneurons contributes to sensory processing remains unclear. Here we show that optogenetic activation of parvalbumin-positive (PV+) interneurons in the mouse primary visual cortex (V1) sharpens neuronal feature selectivity and improves perceptual discrimination. Using multichannel recording with silicon probes and channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2)-mediated optical activation, we found that increased spiking of PV+ interneurons markedly sharpened orientation tuning and enhanced direction selectivity of nearby neurons. These effects were caused by the activation of inhibitory neurons rather than a decreased spiking of excitatory neurons, as archaerhodopsin-3 (Arch)-mediated optical silencing of calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II? (CAMKII?)-positive excitatory neurons caused no significant change in V1 stimulus selectivity. Moreover, the improved selectivity specifically required PV+ neuron activation, as activating somatostatin or vasointestinal peptide interneurons had no significant effect. Notably, PV+ neuron activation in awake mice caused a significant improvement in their orientation discrimination, mirroring the sharpened V1 orientation tuning. Together, these results provide the first demonstration that visual coding and perception can be improved by increased spiking of a specific subtype of cortical inhibitory interneurons.
Project description:Eye opening, a natural and timed event during animal development, influences cortical circuit assembly and maturation; yet, little is known about its precise effect on inhibitory synaptic connections. Here, we show that coinciding with eye opening, the strength of unitary inhibitory postsynaptic currents (uIPSCs) from somatostatin-expressing interneurons (Sst-INs) to nearby excitatory neurons, but not interneurons, sharply decreases in layer 2/3 of the mouse visual cortex. In contrast, the strength of uIPSCs from fast-spiking interneurons (FS-INs) to excitatory neurons significantly increases during eye opening. More importantly, these developmental changes can be prevented by dark rearing or binocular lid suture, and reproduced by the artificial opening of sutured lids. Mechanistically, this differential maturation of synaptic transmission is accompanied by a significant change in the postsynaptic quantal size. Together, our study reveals a differential regulation in GABAergic circuits in the cortex driven by eye opening may be crucial for cortical maturation and function.
Project description:Deficient excitatory drive to parvalbumin-containing cortical interneurons is proposed as a key neural substrate for altered gamma oscillations and cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia. However, a pathological entity producing such a deficit has not been identified. The authors tested the hypothesis that cortical parvalbumin interneurons receive fewer excitatory synaptic inputs in individuals with schizophrenia.Fluorescent immunohistochemistry, confocal microscopy, and post-image processing techniques were used to quantify the number of putative excitatory synapses (i.e., the overlap of vesicular glutamate transporter 1-positive [VGlut1+] puncta and postsynaptic density protein 95-positive [PSD95+] puncta) per surface area of parvalbumin-positive (PV+) or calretinin-positive (CR+) neurons in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex from schizophrenia subjects and matched unaffected comparison subjects.Mean density of VGlut1+/PSD95+ puncta on PV+ neurons was 18% lower in schizophrenia, a significant difference. This deficit was not influenced by methodological confounds or schizophrenia-associated comorbid factors, not present in monkeys chronically exposed to antipsychotic medications, and not present in CR+ neurons. Mean density of VGlut1+/PSD95+ puncta on PV+ neurons predicted the activity-dependent expression levels of parvalbumin and glutamic acid decarboxylase 67 (GAD67) in schizophrenia subjects but not comparison subjects.To the authors' knowledge, this is the first demonstration that excitatory synapse density is lower selectively on parvalbumin interneurons in schizophrenia and predicts the activity-dependent down-regulation of parvalbumin and GAD67. Because the activity of parvalbumin interneurons is required for generation of cortical gamma oscillations and working memory function, these findings reveal a novel pathological substrate for cortical dysfunction and cognitive deficits in schizophrenia.
Project description:The etiology of neurodevelopmental disorders is linked to defects in parvalbumin (PV)-expressing cortical interneurons and to prenatal immune challenges. Mouse models of maternal immune activation (MIA) and microglia deficits increase the postnatal density of PV interneurons, raising the question of their functional integration. Here, we show that MIA and embryonic depletion of macrophages including microglia have a two-step impact on PV interneurons wiring onto their excitatory target neurons in the barrel cortex. In adults, both challenges reduced the inhibitory drive from PV interneurons, as reported in neurodevelopmental disorders. In juveniles, however, we found an increased density of PV neurons, an enhanced strength of unitary connections onto excitatory cells, and an aberrant horizontal inhibition with a reduced lateral propagation of sensory inputs in vivo. Our results provide a comprehensive framework for understanding the impact of prenatal immune challenges onto the developmental trajectory of inhibitory circuits that leads to pathological brain wiring.
Project description:In the neocortex, large layer 5B pyramidal neurons implement a high-density firing code. In contrast, other subtypes of pyramidal neurons, including those in layer 2/3, are functionally characterized by their sparse firing rate. Here, we investigate the synaptic basis of this behavior by comparing the properties of the postsynaptic responses evoked by cortical inputs in layer 5B and layer 2/3 pyramidal neurons in vitro. We demonstrate that a major determinant of the larger responsiveness of layer 5B with respect to layer 2/3 pyramidal neurons is the different properties in their inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs): layer 5B pyramidal neurons have IPSCs of lower amplitude and the temporal delay between the excitatory and inhibitory synaptic components is also larger in these cells. Our data also suggest that this difference depends on the lower gain of the cortical response of layer 5 parvalbumin-positive fast-spiking (PV-FS) interneurons with respect to PV-FS cells from layer 2/3. We propose that, while superficial PV-FS interneurons are well suited to provide a powerful feed-forward inhibitory control of pyramidal neuron responses, layer 5 PV-FS interneurons are mainly engaged in a feedback inhibitory loop and only after a substantial recruitment of surrounding pyramidal cells do they respond to an external input.
Project description:The perirhinal (PER) and lateral entorhinal (LEC) cortex form an anatomical link between the neocortex and the hippocampus. However, neocortical activity is transmitted through the PER and LEC to the hippocampus with a low probability, suggesting the involvement of the inhibitory network. This study explored the role of interneuron mediated inhibition, activated by electrical stimulation in the agranular insular cortex (AiP), in the deep layers of the PER and LEC. Activated synaptic input by AiP stimulation rarely evoked action potentials in the PER-LEC deep layer excitatory principal neurons, most probably because the evoked synaptic response consisted of a small excitatory and large inhibitory conductance. Furthermore, parvalbumin positive (PV) interneurons-a subset of interneurons projecting onto the axo-somatic region of principal neurons-received synaptic input earlier than principal neurons, suggesting recruitment of feedforward inhibition. This synaptic input in PV interneurons evoked varying trains of action potentials, explaining the fast rising, long lasting synaptic inhibition received by deep layer principal neurons. Altogether, the excitatory input from the AiP onto deep layer principal neurons is overruled by strong feedforward inhibition. PV interneurons, with their fast, extensive stimulus-evoked firing, are able to deliver this fast evoked inhibition in principal neurons. This indicates an essential role for PV interneurons in the gating mechanism of the PER-LEC network.