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Dendritic NMDA receptors in parvalbumin neurons enable strong and stable neuronal assemblies

By Jonathan Cornford, Marion S. Mercier, Marco Leite, Vincent Magloire, Michael Häusser, Dimitri M. Kullmann

Posted 09 Mar 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/279505 (published DOI: 10.7554/eLife.49872)

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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