Striatal fast spiking interneurons (FSIs) modulate output of the striatum by synchronizing medium-sized spiny neurons (MSNs). Recent studies have broadened our understanding of FSIs, showing that they are implicated in severe motor disorders such as parkinsonism, dystonia and Tourette syndrome. FSIs are the only striatal neurons to express the calcium-binding protein parvalbumin (PV). This selective expression of PV raises questions about the functional role of this Ca(2+) buffer in controlling FSI Ca(2+) dynamics and, consequently, FSI spiking mode and neurotransmission. To study the functional involvement of FSIs in striatal microcircuit activity and the role of PV in FSI function, we performed perforated patch recordings on enhanced green fluorescent protein-expressing FSIs in brain slices from control and PV-/- mice. Our results revealed that PV-/- FSIs fired more regularly and were more excitable than control FSIs by a mechanism in which Ca(2+) buffering is linked to spiking activity as a result of the activation of small conductance Ca(2+)-dependent K(+) channels. A modelling approach of striatal FSIs supports our experimental results. Furthermore, PV deletion modified frequency-specific short-term plasticity at inhibitory FSI to MSN synapses. Our results therefore reinforce the hypothesis that in FSIs, PV is crucial for fine-tuning of the temporal responses of the FSI network and for the orchestration of MSN populations. This, in turn, may play a direct role in the generation and pathology-related worsening of motor rhythms.