Background: Synaptic interactions between excitatory and inhibitory neocortical neurons are important for mammalian sensory perception. Synaptic transmission between identified neurons within neocortical microcircuits has mainly been studied in brain slice preparations in vitro. Here, we investigate brain-state-dependent neocortical synaptic interactions in vivo by combining the specificity of optogenetic stimulation with the precision of whole-cell recordings from postsynaptic excitatory glutamatergic neurons and GFP-labeled inhibitory GABAergic neurons targeted through two-photon microscopy.