Polysynaptic subcircuits in the neocortex: spatial and temporal diversity

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2008 Jun;18(3):332-7. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2008.08.009.


Inhibitory pathways in the neocortex display a variety of temporal and spatial patterns, maintaining a dynamic balance with excitatory synaptic activity. Recent studies have revealed prevalent polysynaptic subcircuits within the neocortical microcircuitry. These subcircuits involve excitatory and inhibitory connections that are activated by neurons both in supragranular and infragranular cortical layers and mediated by different mechanisms. Interestingly, in these subcircuits inhibition is induced by discharge of pyramidal cells, and excitation is caused by specific types of GABAergic interneurons. The different polysynaptic subcircuits are discussed with respect to their spatial and temporal properties and their possible functional role in cortical processing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Neocortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Nerve Net / cytology*
  • Synapses / physiology*