Whole-Neuron Synaptic Mapping Reveals Spatially Precise Excitatory/Inhibitory Balance Limiting Dendritic and Somatic Spiking

The balance between excitatory and inhibitory (E and I) synapses is thought to be critical for information processing in neural circuits. However, little is known about the spatial principles of E and I synaptic organization across the entire dendritic tree of mammalian neurons. We developed a new open-source reconstruction platform for mapping the size and spatial distribution of E and I synapses received by individual genetically-labeled layer 2/3 (L2/3) cortical pyramidal neurons (PNs) in vivo. We mapped over 90,000 E and I synapses across twelve L2/3 PNs and uncovered structured organization of E and I synapses across dendritic domains as well as within individual dendritic segments. Despite significant domain-specific variation in the absolute density of E and I synapses, their ratio is strikingly balanced locally across dendritic segments. Computational modeling indicates that this spatially precise E/I balance dampens dendritic voltage fluctuations and strongly impacts neuronal firing output.

Authors: Iascone et al.
Year of publication: 2020
Journal: Neuron

Link to publication:


“Working memory”