Anatomical and functional differentiation of glutamatergic synaptic innervation in the neocortex

Pyramidal neurons are the principal neurons of the neocortex and their excitatory impact on other pyramidal neurons and interneurons is central to neocortical dynamics. A fundamental principal that has emerged which governs pyramidal neuron excitation of other neurons in the local circuitry of neocortical columns is differential anatomical and physiological properties of the synaptic innervation via the same axon depending on the type of neuron targeted. In this study we derive anatomical principles for divergent innervation of pyramidal neurons of the same type within the local microcircuit. We also review data providing circumstantial and direct evidence for differential synaptic transmission via the same axon from neocortical pyramidal neurons and derive some principles for differential synaptic innervation of pyramidal neurons of the same type, of pyramidal neurons and interneurons and of different types of interneurons. We conclude that differential anatomical and physiological differentiation is a fundamental property of glutamatergic axons of pyramidal neurons in the neocortex.


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