Multisensory integration (MI) is crucial for sensory processing, but it is unclear how MI is organized in cortical microcircuits. Whole-cell recordings in a mouse visuotactile area located between primary visual and somatosensory cortices revealed that spike responses were less bimodal than synaptic responses but displayed larger multisensory enhancement. MI was layer and cell type specific, with multisensory enhancement being rare in the major class of inhibitory interneurons and in the output infragranular layers. Optogenetic manipulation of parvalbumin-positive interneuron activity revealed that the scarce MI of interneurons enables MI in neighboring pyramids. Finally, single-cell resolution calcium imaging revealed a gradual merging of modalities: unisensory neurons had higher densities toward the borders of the primary cortices, but were located in unimodal clusters in the middle of the cortical area. These findings reveal the role of different neuronal subcircuits in the synaptic process of MI in the rodent parietal cortex.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.