Control of response reliability by parvalbumin-expressing interneurons in visual cortex
The responses of visual cortical neurons to natural stimuli are both reliable and sparse. These properties require inhibition, yet the contribution of specific types of inhibitory neurons is not well understood. Here we demonstrate that optogenetic suppression of parvalbumin (PV)-but not somatostatin (SOM)-expressing interneurons reduces response reliability in the primary visual cortex of anaesthetized and awake mice. PV suppression leads to increases in the low firing rates and decreases in
... and decreases in the high firing rates of cortical neurons, resulting in an overall reduction of the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). In contrast, SOM suppression generally increases the overall firing rate for most neurons, without affecting the SNR. Further analysis reveals that PV, but not SOM, suppression impairs neural discrimination of natural stimuli. Together, these results reveal a critical role for PV interneurons in the formation of reliable visual cortical representations of natural stimuli.