Layer-specific modulation of neocortical dendritic inhibition during active wakefulness

Science. 2017 Mar 3;355(6328):954-959. doi: 10.1126/science.aag2599.


γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic inputs are strategically positioned to gate synaptic integration along the dendritic arbor of pyramidal cells. However, their spatiotemporal dynamics during behavior are poorly understood. Using an optical-tagging electrophysiological approach to record and label somatostatin-expressing (Sst) interneurons (GABAergic neurons specialized for dendritic inhibition), we discovered a layer-specific modulation of their activity in behaving mice. Sst interneuron subtypes, residing in different cortical layers and innervating complementary laminar domains, exhibited opposite activity changes during transitions to active wakefulness. The relative weight of vasoactive intestinal peptide-expressing (Vip) interneuron-mediated inhibition of distinct Sst interneurons and cholinergic modulation determined their in vivo activity. These results reveal a state-dependent laminar influence of Sst interneuron-mediated inhibition, with implications for the compartmentalized regulation of dendritic signaling in the mammalian neocortex.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Behavior
  • Dendrites / physiology*
  • Female
  • GABAergic Neurons / metabolism
  • GABAergic Neurons / physiology*
  • Interneurons / metabolism
  • Interneurons / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Neocortex / cytology
  • Neocortex / physiology*
  • Neural Inhibition*
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology
  • Receptors, Muscarinic / metabolism
  • Somatostatin / metabolism
  • Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide / metabolism
  • Wakefulness / physiology*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism


  • Receptors, Muscarinic
  • Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide
  • Somatostatin
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Acetylcholine