Two dynamically distinct circuits driving inhibition in sensory thalamus

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
R. I. Martinez-GarciaScott J Cruikshank


Most sensory information destined for the neocortex is relayed through the thalamus, where considerable transformation occurs. One powerful means of transformation involves interactions between excitatory thalamocortical neurons that carry data to cortex and inhibitory neurons of the thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN) that regulate flow of those data. Despite enduring recognition of its importance, understanding of TRN cell types, their organization, and their functional properties has lagged that of the thalamocortical systems they control. Here we address this, investigating somatosensory and visual circuits of the TRN. In the somatosensory TRN we observed two groups of genetically defined neurons that are topographically segregated, physiologically distinct, and connect reciprocally with independent thalamocortical nuclei via dynamically divergent synapses. Calbindin-expressing cells, located in the central core, connect with the ventral posterior nucleus (VP), the primary somatosensory thalamocortical relay. In contrast, somatostatin-expressing cells, residing along the surrounding edges of TRN, synapse with the posterior medial thalamic nucleus (POM), a higher-order structure that carries both top-down and bottom-up informat...Continue Reading

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