Functional Local Input to Layer 5 Pyramidal Neurons in the Rat Visual Cortex

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Pyramidal neurons in layer 5 of the neocortex can be differentiated into 3 cell subtypes: 1) short regular spiking (SH), 2) tall regular spiking (TR), and 3) tall burst spiking (TB), based on their morphological and electrophysiological properties. We characterized the functional excitatory local input to these 3 cell subtypes in rat primary visual cortex using laser-scanning photostimulation. Although all cell types received significant input from all cortical layers, SH neurons received stronger input from layer 4 and weaker input from layer 5 than did tall pyramidal cells. However, the laminar input to the 2 populations of tall pyramidal cells was indistinguishable. Simultaneous paired recording were then used to calculate a correlation probability (CP) to infer the proportion of shared input based on the occurrence of simultaneous synaptic potentials. Tall pairs of matched type had significantly higher CPs compared with unmatched pairs, suggesting that subpopulations of layer 4, 5, and 6 neurons preferentially connect to each tall cell type. Hence, this study shows that unconnected but matching pairs of tall pyramidal neurons, but not short pyramidal neurons, receive functional input from different interconnected networks within layers 4, 5, and 6.

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