3D clustering of GABAergic neurons enhances inhibitory actions on excitatory neurons in the mouse visual cortex

Cell Rep. 2014 Dec 11;9(5):1896-1907. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2014.10.057. Epub 2014 Nov 20.


Neocortical neurons with similar functional properties assemble into spatially coherent circuits, but it remains unclear how inhibitory interneurons are organized. We applied in vivo two-photon functional Ca(2+) imaging and whole-cell recording of synaptic currents to record visual responses of cortical neurons and analyzed their spatial arrangements. GABAergic interneurons were clustered in the 3D space of the mouse visual cortex, and excitatory neurons located within the clusters (insiders) had a lower amplitude and sharper orientation tuning of visual responses than outsiders. Inhibitory synaptic currents recorded from the insiders were larger than those of the outsiders. Single, isolated interneurons did not show such a location-tuning/amplitude relationship. The two principal subtypes of interneurons, parvalbumin- and somatostatin-expressing neurons, also formed clusters with only slightly overlapping each other and exhibited a different location-tuning relationship. These findings suggest that GABAergic interneurons and their subgroups form clusters to make their inhibitory function more effective than isolated interneurons.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium Signaling
  • Female
  • GABAergic Neurons / physiology*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Interneurons / physiology
  • Male
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Visual Cortex / cytology*
  • Visual Perception