Inhibitory interneurons target precise membrane regions on pyramidal cells, but differences in their functional effects on somata, dendrites and spines remain unclear. We analyzed inhibitory synaptic events induced by cortical, fast-spiking (FS) basket cells which innervate dendritic shafts and spines as well as pyramidal cell somata. Serial electron micrograph (EMg) reconstructions showed that somatic synapses were larger than dendritic contacts. Simulations with precise anatomical and physiological data reveal functional differences between different innervation styles. FS cell soma-targeting synapses initiate a strong, global inhibition, those on shafts inhibit more restricted dendritic zones, while synapses on spines may mediate a strictly local veto. Thus, FS cell synapses of different sizes and sites provide functionally diverse forms of pyramidal cell inhibition.
Keywords: FS basket cell; IPSC; inhibitory synapse; neuroscience; pyramidal cell; rat; spine; synaptic conductance.