Broadly tuned response properties of diverse inhibitory neuron subtypes in mouse visual cortex

Neuron. 2010 Sep 9;67(5):858-71. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2010.08.002.


Different subtypes of GABAergic neurons in sensory cortex exhibit diverse morphology, histochemical markers, and patterns of connectivity. These subtypes likely play distinct roles in cortical function, but their in vivo response properties remain unclear. We used in vivo calcium imaging, combined with immunohistochemical and genetic labels, to record visual responses in excitatory neurons and up to three distinct subtypes of GABAergic neurons (immunoreactive for parvalbumin, somatostatin, or vasoactive intestinal peptide) in layer 2/3 of mouse visual cortex. Excitatory neurons had sharp response selectivity for stimulus orientation and spatial frequency, while all GABAergic subtypes had broader selectivity. Further, bias in the responses of GABAergic neurons toward particular orientations or spatial frequencies tended to reflect net biases of the surrounding neurons. These results suggest that the sensory responses of layer 2/3 GABAergic neurons reflect the pooled activity of the surrounding population--a principle that may generalize across species and sensory modalities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Egtazic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Egtazic Acid / metabolism
  • Fluorescent Dyes / metabolism
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase / genetics
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology*
  • Neurons / classification*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Orientation / physiology*
  • Parvalbumins / metabolism
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Somatostatin / metabolism
  • Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide / metabolism
  • Visual Cortex / cytology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiology
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Parvalbumins
  • 1,2-bis(2-aminophenoxy)ethane N,N,N',N'-tetraacetic acid acetoxymethyl ester
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide
  • Somatostatin
  • Egtazic Acid
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase
  • glutamate decarboxylase 1
  • Calcium