Functional Role of Different Types of Interneurons in Cortical Microcircuits

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Loreen Hertäg

In the last decades, inhibitory neurons have been identified as one of the core elements in shaping the activity of excitatory cells, modulating and expanding the spectrum of dynamical phenomena of neural circuits. In more recent years, the combination of technologically advanced recording methods and the development of transgenic mice lines have boosted the amount of experimental data on various types of GABAergic interneurons. However, the individual role of these interneurons are still mostly unresolved. A promising approach to gain insights and investigate the functional role of inhibitory neurons are computational models. We perform mathematical analyses and extensive simulations of a microcircuit comprising 4 different celltypes: excitatory pyramidal cells and inhibitory parvalbumin- , somatostatin- and vasoactive intestinal peptide-expressing interneurons. Our network model makes a number of predictions that can be tested in experiments, and hence may help revealing the functional role of interneurons within microcircuits.