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Apicella AJ, Wickersham IR, Seung HS, Shepherd GM.
J Neurosci. 2012 May 16;32(20):7021-33. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0011-12.2012.

In motor cortex, long-range output to subcortical motor circuits depends on excitatory and inhibitory inputs converging on projection neurons in layers 5A/B. How interneurons interconnect with these projection neurons, and whether these microcircuits are interneuron and/or projection specific, is unclear. We found that fast-spiking interneurons received strong intralaminar (horizontal) excitation from pyramidal neurons in layers 5A/B including corticostriatal and corticospinal neurons, implicating them in mediating disynaptic recurrent, feedforward, and feedback inhibition within and across the two projection classes. Low-threshold-spiking (LTS) interneurons were instead strongly excited by descending interlaminar (vertical) input from layer 2/3 pyramidal neurons, implicating them in mediating disynaptic feedforward inhibition to both projection classes. Furthermore, in a novel pattern, lower layer 2/3 preferentially excited interneurons in one layer (5A/LTS) and excitatory neurons in another (5B/corticospinal). Thus, these inhibitory microcircuits in mouse motor cortex follow an orderly arrangement that is laminarly orthogonalized by interneuron-specific, projection-nonspecific connectivity.

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