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J Neurophysiol 2013 Nov;110(10):2378-92

Weaker feedforward inhibition accounts for less pronounced thalamocortical response transformation in mouse vs. rat barrels.

Kwegyir-Afful EE, Kyriazi HT, Simons DJ


Feedforward inhibition is a common motif of thalamocortical circuits. Strong engagement of inhibitory neurons by thalamic inputs enhances response differentials between preferred and non-preferred stimuli. In rat whisker-barrel cortex robustly driven inhibitory barrel neurons establish a brief epoch during which synchronous or near-synchronous thalamic firing produces larger responses to preferred stimuli such as high-velocity deflections of the principal whisker in a preferred direction. Present experiments in mice show that barrel neuron responses to preferred vs. non-preferred stimuli differ less than in rats. In addition, fast-spike units, thought to be inhibitory barrel neurons, fire less robustly to whisker stimuli in mice than in rats. Analyses of real and simulated data indicate that mouse barrel circuitry integrates thalamic inputs over a broad temporal window and that, as a consequence, responses of barrel neurons are largely similar to those of thalamic neurons. Results are consistent with weaker feedforward inhibition in mouse barrels. Differences in thalamocortical circuitry between mice and rats may reflect mechanical properties of the whiskers themselves.

Category: Journal Article
PubMed ID: #23966677 DOI: 10.1152/jn.00574.2012
Includes FDA Authors from Scientific Area(s): Food
Entry Created: 2013-08-24 Entry Last Modified: 2013-12-21