Reliable Sensory Processing in Mouse Visual Cortex through Cooperative Interactions between Somatostatin and Parvalbumin Interneurons.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


J Neurosci, Volume 41, Issue 42, p.8761-8778 (2021)


Animals, Female, Interneurons, Male, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Transgenic, Parvalbumins, Perception, Somatostatin, Visual Cortex


<p>Intrinsic neuronal variability significantly limits information encoding in the primary visual cortex (V1). However, under certain conditions, neurons can respond reliably with highly precise responses to the same visual stimuli from trial to trial. This suggests that there exists intrinsic neural circuit mechanisms that dynamically modulate the intertrial variability of visual cortical neurons. Here, we sought to elucidate the role of different inhibitory interneurons (INs) in reliable coding in mouse V1. To study the interactions between somatostatin-expressing interneurons (SST-INs) and parvalbumin-expressing interneurons (PV-INs), we used a dual-color calcium imaging technique that allowed us to simultaneously monitor these two neural ensembles while awake mice, of both sexes, passively viewed natural movies. SST neurons were more active during epochs of reliable pyramidal neuron firing, whereas PV neurons were more active during epochs of unreliable firing. SST neuron activity lagged that of PV neurons, consistent with a feedback inhibitory SST→PV circuit. To dissect the role of this circuit in pyramidal neuron activity, we used temporally limited optogenetic activation and inactivation of SST and PV interneurons during periods of reliable and unreliable pyramidal cell firing. Transient firing of SST neurons increased pyramidal neuron reliability by actively suppressing PV neurons, a proposal that was supported by a rate-based model of V1 neurons. These results identify a cooperative functional role for the SST→PV circuit in modulating the reliability of pyramidal neuron activity. Cortical neurons often respond to identical sensory stimuli with large variability. However, under certain conditions, the same neurons can also respond highly reliably. The circuit mechanisms that contribute to this modulation remain unknown. Here, we used novel dual-wavelength calcium imaging and temporally selective optical perturbation to identify an inhibitory neural circuit in visual cortex that can modulate the reliability of pyramidal neurons to naturalistic visual stimuli. Our results, supported by computational models, suggest that somatostatin interneurons increase pyramidal neuron reliability by suppressing parvalbumin interneurons via the inhibitory SST→PV circuit. These findings reveal a novel role of the SST→PV circuit in modulating the fidelity of neural coding critical for visual perception.</p>

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