A network of tufted layer 5 pyramidal neurons

Cerebral Cortex
Henry Markram


Tufted layer 5 (TL5) pyramidal neurons are important projection neurons from the cerebral cortex to subcortical areas. Recent and ongoing experiments aimed at understanding the computational analysis performed by a network of synaptically connected TL5 neurons are reviewed here. The experiments employed dual and triple whole-cell patch clamp recordings from visually identified and preselected neurons in brain slices of somatosensory cortex of young (14- to 16-day-old) rats. These studies suggest that a local network of TL5 neurons within a cortical module of diameter 300 microns consists of a few hundred neurons that are extensively inter-connected with reciprocal feedback from at least first-, second- and third-order target neurons. A statistical analysis of synaptic innervation suggests that this recurrent network is not randomly arranged and hence each neuron could be functionally unique. Synaptic transmission between these neurons is characterized by use-dependent synaptic depression which confers novel properties to this recurrent network of neurons. First, a range of rates of depression for different synaptic connections enable each TL5 neuron to receive a unique mixture of information about the average firing rates and t...Continue Reading


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