Functional properties of fast spiking interneurons and their synaptic connections with pyramidal cells in primate dorsolateral prefrontal cortex

J Neurophysiol. 2005 Feb;93(2):942-53. doi: 10.1152/jn.00787.2004. Epub 2004 Sep 22.


Recent studies suggest that fast-spiking (FS) interneurons of the monkey dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) exhibit task-related firing during working-memory tasks. To gain further understanding of the functional role of FS neurons in monkey DLPFC, we described the in vitro electrophysiological properties of FS interneurons and their synaptic connections with pyramidal cells in layers 2/3 of areas 9 and 46. Extracellular spike duration was found to distinguish FS cells from non-FS interneuron subtypes. However, a substantial overlap in extracellular spike duration between these populations would make classification of individual interneurons difficult. FS neurons could be divided into two main morphological groups, chandelier and basket neurons, with very similar electrophysiological properties but significantly different horizontal spread of the axonal arborization. In paired cell recordings, unitary inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (IPSPs) elicited by FS neurons in pyramidal cells had rapid time course, small amplitude at resting membrane potential, and were mediated by GABA(A) receptors. Repetitive FS neuron stimulation, partially mimicking the sustained firing of interneurons in vivo, produced short-term depression of the unitary IPSPs, present at connections made by both basket and chandelier neurons and due at least in part to presynaptic mechanisms. These results suggest that FS neurons and their synaptic connections with pyramidal cells have homogeneous physiological properties. Thus different functional roles of basket and chandelier neurons in the DLPFC in vivo must arise from the distinct properties of the interneuronal axonal arborization or from a different functional pattern of excitatory and inhibitory connections with other components of the DLPFC neuronal network.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Interneurons / cytology
  • Interneurons / physiology*
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Prefrontal Cortex / cytology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Pyramidal Cells / cytology
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology*
  • Synapses / physiology*