Excitation and inhibition are highly specific in the cortex, with distinct synaptic connections made onto subtypes of projection neurons. The functional consequences of this selective connectivity depend on both synaptic strength and the intrinsic properties of targeted neurons but remain poorly understood. Here, we examine responses to callosal inputs at cortico-cortical (CC) and cortico-thalamic (CT) neurons in layer 5 of mouse prelimbic prefrontal cortex (PFC). We find callosally evoked excitation and feedforward inhibition are much stronger at CT neurons compared to neighboring CC neurons. Elevated inhibition at CT neurons reflects biased synaptic inputs from parvalbumin and somatostatin positive interneurons. The intrinsic properties of postsynaptic targets equalize excitatory and inhibitory response amplitudes but selectively accelerate decays at CT neurons. Feedforward inhibition further reduces response amplitude and balances action potential firing across these projection neurons. Our findings highlight the synaptic and cellular mechanisms regulating callosal recruitment of layer 5 microcircuits in PFC.
Keywords: circuits; excitation; feedforward; h-current; inhibition; interneuron; optogenetics; prefrontal cortex; pyramidal neuron; synaptic transmission.
Copyright © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.