Dendritic NMDA receptors in parvalbumin neurons enable strong and stable neuronal assemblies
Parvalbumin-expressing (PV+) GABAergic interneurons mediate feedforward and feedback inhibition and have a key role in gamma oscillations and information processing. The importance of fast synaptic recruitment, action potential initiation and repolarization, and rapid synchronous GABA release by PV+ cells is well established. In contrast, the functional significance of PV+ cell NMDA receptors (NMDARs), which generate relatively slow postsynaptic currents, is unclear. Underlining their importance, several studies implicate PV+ cell NMDAR disruption in impaired network function and circuit pathologies. Here, we show that dendritic NMDARs underlie supralinear integration of feedback excitation from local pyramidal neurons onto mouse CA1 PV+ cells. Furthermore, by incorporating NMDARs at feedback connections onto PV+ cells in spiking networks, we show that these receptors enable cooperative recruitment of PV+ interneurons, strengthening and stabilising principal cell assemblies. Failure of this phenomenon provides a parsimonious explanation for cognitive and sensory gating deficits in pathologies with impaired PV+ NMDAR signalling.
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