Neocortical inhibitory interneuron subtypes are differentially attuned to synchrony- and rate-coded information

Luke Y. Prince, Matthew M. Tran, Dorian Grey, Lydia Saad, Helen Chasiotis, Jeehyun Kwag, Michael M. Kohl, Blake A. Richards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Neurons can carry information with both the synchrony and rate of their spikes. However, it is unknown whether distinct subtypes of neurons are more sensitive to information carried by synchrony versus rate, or vice versa. Here, we address this question using patterned optical stimulation in slices of somatosensory cortex from mouse lines labelling fast-spiking (FS) and regular-spiking (RS) interneurons. We used optical stimulation in layer 2/3 to encode a 1-bit signal using either the synchrony or rate of activity. We then examined the mutual information between this signal and the interneuron responses. We found that for a synchrony encoding, FS interneurons carried more information in the first five milliseconds, while both interneuron subtypes carried more information than excitatory neurons in later responses. For a rate encoding, we found that RS interneurons carried more information after several milliseconds. These data demonstrate that distinct interneuron subtypes in the neocortex have distinct sensitivities to synchrony versus rate codes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number935
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a Human Frontier Science Program Young Investigator Grant to M.M.K., J.K. and B.A.R. (RGY0073/2015) and a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Discovery Grant to B.A.R. (RGPIN-2014-04947).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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