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Networks of GABAergic interneurons are implicated in synchronizing cortical activity at gamma frequencies (30-70 Hz). Here we demonstrate that the combined electrical and GABAergic synaptic coupling of basket cells instantaneously entrained gamma-frequency postsynaptic firing in layers 2/3 of rat somatosensory cortex. This entrainment was mediated by rapid curtailment of gap junctional coupling potentials by GABAA receptor-mediated IPSPs. Electron microscopy revealed spatial proximity of gap junctions and GABAergic synapses on somata and dendrites. Electrical coupling alone entrained postsynaptic firing with a phase lag, whereas unitary GABAergic connections were ineffective in gamma-frequency phasing. These observations demonstrate precise spatiotemporal mechanisms underlying action potential timing in oscillating interneuronal networks.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Neurosci

Publication Date





366 - 371


Action Potentials, Age Factors, Animals, Bicuculline, Cell Communication, Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials, GABA Antagonists, Gap Junctions, Interneurons, Microscopy, Electron, Rats, Rats, Wistar, Synapses, gamma-Aminobutyric Acid