Synaptic interactions in neocortical local circuits: dual intracellular recordings in vitro

Cereb Cortex. 1997 Sep;7(6):510-22. doi: 10.1093/cercor/7.6.510.


Properties of local synaptic connections in neocortex, studied with dual intracellular recordings in vitro and correlated with cell and synaptic morphology are summarized. The different durations and sensitivities to somatic membrane potential of pyramid-pyramid excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) apparently reflect the positions of the synapses on the postsynaptic dendrites. Their time-, frequency- and voltage-dependent properties enable supra-linear summation of several low-frequency inputs arising in the same dendritic region, even if only loosely coincident, but they depress during repetitive firing in any one input. Pyramidal input to classical fast spiking and low threshold spiking interneurones are strikingly different. Here low presynaptic firing rates results in many transmission failures. EPSPs are brief and inputs must be near coincident for summation. However, these synapses display pronounced. frequency-dependent, incrementing facilitation at higher presynaptic frequencies. Once initiated by a brief high-frequency burst, this facilitation is maintained at lower frequencies. GABAA receptor-mediated inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (IPSPs) arising proximally are of very different durations depending on the type of interneurone activated and can prevent and subsequently synchronize firing in their many postsynaptic partners with very different delays (eg. 10-100 ms). Low threshold spiking interneurones, in contrast, generate brief IPSPs only in more distal dendritic regions and have little effect on somatic excitability acting to shunt input distally.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Electrophysiology
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology*
  • Synapses / physiology*