Layer-specific excitatory circuits differentially control recurrent network dynamics in the neocortex

Riccardo Beltramo, Giulia D'Urso, Marco Dal Maschio, Pasqualina Farisello, Serena Bovetti, Yoanne Clovis, Glenda Lassi, Valter Tucci, Davide De Pietri Tonelli, Tommaso Fellin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

160 Citations (Scopus)


In the absence of external stimuli, the mammalian neocortex shows intrinsic network oscillations. These dynamics are characterized by translaminar assemblies of neurons whose activity synchronizes rhythmically in space and time. How different cortical layers influence the formation of these spontaneous cellular assemblies is poorly understood. We found that excitatory neurons in supragranular and infragranular layers have distinct roles in the regulation of intrinsic low-frequency oscillations in mice in vivo. Optogenetic activation of infragranular neurons generated network activity that resembled spontaneous events, whereas photoinhibition of these same neurons substantially attenuated slow ongoing dynamics. In contrast, light activation and inhibition of supragranular cells had modest effects on spontaneous slow activity. This study represents, to the best of our knowledge, the first causal demonstration that excitatory circuits located in distinct cortical layers differentially control spontaneous low-frequency dynamics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-34
Number of pages8
JournalNature Neuroscience
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013


  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electroencephalography
  • Electroporation
  • Female
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neocortex
  • Nerve Net
  • Neural Pathways
  • Neurons
  • Nonlinear Dynamics
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Pregnancy
  • Proteins
  • RNA, Untranslated
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins, Plasma
  • Rhodopsin
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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