Parvalbumin- and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide-expressing neocortical interneurons impose differential inhibition on Martinotti cells

Nat Commun. 2016 Nov 29:7:13664. doi: 10.1038/ncomms13664.


Disinhibition of cortical excitatory cell gate information flow through and between cortical columns. The major contribution of Martinotti cells (MC) is providing dendritic inhibition to excitatory neurons and therefore they are a main component of disinhibitory connections. Here we show by means of optogenetics that MC in layers II/III of the mouse primary somatosensory cortex are inhibited by both parvalbumin (PV)- and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP)-expressing cells. Paired recordings revealed stronger synaptic input onto MC from PV cells than from VIP cells. Moreover, PV cell input showed frequency-independent depression, whereas VIP cell input facilitated at high frequencies. These differences in the properties of the two unitary connections enable disinhibition with distinct temporal features.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Interneurons / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Neocortex / metabolism*
  • Neural Inhibition*
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Parvalbumins / metabolism*
  • Somatosensory Cortex / cytology*
  • Synapses / metabolism
  • Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide / metabolism*
  • Visual Cortex / metabolism


  • Parvalbumins
  • Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide