Mapping inhibitory neuronal circuits by laser scanning photostimulation

Journal of Visualized Experiments : JoVE
Taruna IkrarXiangmin Xu


Inhibitory neurons are crucial to cortical function. They comprise about 20% of the entire cortical neuronal population and can be further subdivided into diverse subtypes based on their immunochemical, morphological, and physiological properties. Although previous research has revealed much about intrinsic properties of individual types of inhibitory neurons, knowledge about their local circuit connections is still relatively limited. Given that each individual neuron's function is shaped by its excitatory and inhibitory synaptic input within cortical circuits, we have been using laser scanning photostimulation (LSPS) to map local circuit connections to specific inhibitory cell types. Compared to conventional electrical stimulation or glutamate puff stimulation, LSPS has unique advantages allowing for extensive mapping and quantitative analysis of local functional inputs to individually recorded neurons. Laser photostimulation via glutamate uncaging selectively activates neurons perisomatically, without activating axons of passage or distal dendrites, which ensures a sub-laminar mapping resolution. The sensitivity and efficiency of LSPS for mapping inputs from many stimulation sites over a large region are well suited for cort...Continue Reading


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