Inhibition has a powerful role shaping the network dynamics of the cortex, but most studies of inhibitory circuitry are done in brain slice or anesthetized animals. In Membrane potential dynamics of GABAergic neurons in barrel cortex of behaving mice, Gentet et al use two-photon imaging to guide dual, whole-cell patch clamp of inhibitory and excitatory neurons in the mouse barrel cortex. These mice are head fixed, but awake and naturally whisking. The authors can then see how the membrane dynamics of both subthreshold and suprathreshold voltages are correlated across pairs of cells. Differences between the correlations for excitatory and inhibitory neurons shed light on how cortical circuitry processes sensory information in natural brain states.
For Journal Club #5, Mac Hooks, a post-doc here at Janelia working with Gordon Shepard and Karel Svoboda, walks us through these results. Also, there is a video introduction of the work by the lab head of the paper, Carl Petersen, provided by Cell Press.
Gentet, L., Avermann, M., Matyas, F., Staiger, J., & Petersen, C. (2010). Membrane Potential Dynamics of GABAergic Neurons in the Barrel Cortex of Behaving Mice Neuron, 65 (3), 422-435 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2010.01.006