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The Cellular Basis of GABAB-Mediated Interhemispheric Inhibition

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Science  24 Feb 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6071, pp. 989-993
DOI: 10.1126/science.1217276

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Abstract

Interhemispheric inhibition is thought to mediate cortical rivalry between the two hemispheres through callosal input. The long-lasting form of this inhibition is believed to operate via γ-aminobutyric acid type B (GABAB) receptors, but the process is poorly understood at the cellular level. We found that the firing of layer 5 pyramidal neurons in rat somatosensory cortex due to contralateral sensory stimulation was inhibited for hundreds of milliseconds when paired with ipsilateral stimulation. The inhibition acted directly on apical dendrites via layer 1 interneurons but was silent in the absence of pyramidal cell firing, relying on metabotropic inhibition of active dendritic currents recruited during neuronal activity. The results not only reveal the microcircuitry underlying interhemispheric inhibition but also demonstrate the importance of active dendritic properties for cortical output.

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