Distinct balance of excitation and inhibition in an interareal feedforward and feedback circuit of mouse visual cortex

J Neurosci. 2013 Oct 30;33(44):17373-84. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2515-13.2013.


Mouse visual cortex is subdivided into multiple distinct, hierarchically organized areas that are interconnected through feedforward (FF) and feedback (FB) pathways. The principal synaptic targets of FF and FB axons that reciprocally interconnect primary visual cortex (V1) with the higher lateromedial extrastriate area (LM) are pyramidal cells (Pyr) and parvalbumin (PV)-expressing GABAergic interneurons. Recordings in slices of mouse visual cortex have shown that layer 2/3 Pyr cells receive excitatory monosynaptic FF and FB inputs, which are opposed by disynaptic inhibition. Most notably, inhibition is stronger in the FF than FB pathway, suggesting pathway-specific organization of feedforward inhibition (FFI). To explore the hypothesis that this difference is due to diverse pathway-specific strengths of the inputs to PV neurons we have performed subcellular Channelrhodopsin-2-assisted circuit mapping in slices of mouse visual cortex. Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings were obtained from retrobead-labeled FF(V1→LM)- and FB(LM→V1)-projecting Pyr cells, as well as from tdTomato-expressing PV neurons. The results show that the FF(V1→LM) pathway provides on average 3.7-fold stronger depolarizing input to layer 2/3 inhibitory PV neurons than to neighboring excitatory Pyr cells. In the FB(LM→V1) pathway, depolarizing inputs to layer 2/3 PV neurons and Pyr cells were balanced. Balanced inputs were also found in the FF(V1→LM) pathway to layer 5 PV neurons and Pyr cells, whereas FB(LM→V1) inputs to layer 5 were biased toward Pyr cells. The findings indicate that FFI in FF(V1→LM) and FB(LM→V1) circuits are organized in a pathway- and lamina-specific fashion.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology
  • Feedback, Physiological / physiology*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiology*