Division of labor among distinct subtypes of inhibitory neurons in a cortical microcircuit of working memory

X. J. Wang*, J. Tegnér, C. Constantinidis, P. S. Goldman-Rakic

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

258 Scopus citations


A conspicuous feature of cortical organization is the wide diversity of inhibitory interneurons; their differential computational functions remain unclear. Here we propose a local cortical circuit in which three major subtypes of interneurons play distinct roles. In a model designed for spatial working memory, stimulus tuning of persistent activity arises from the concerted action of widespread inhibition mediated by perisoma-targeting (parvalbumin-containing) interneurons and localized disinhibition of pyramidal cells via interneuron-targeting (calretinin-containing) interneurons. Moreover, resistance against distracting stimuli (a fundamental property of working memory) is dynamically controlled by dendrite-targeting (calbindin-containing) interneurons. The experimental observation of inverted tuning curves of monkey prefrontal neurons recorded during working memory supports a key model prediction. This work suggests a framework for understanding the division of labor and cooperation among different inhibitory cell types in a recurrent cortical circuit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1368-1373
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 3 2004

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