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Balanced inhibition underlies tuning and sharpens spike timing in auditory cortex.
Wehr M, Zador AM
Nature 2003 Nov 27 426(6965):442-6 [abstract on PubMed] [related articles] [order article]
Selected by | Leonard Maler
Evaluated 9 Dec 2003
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Leonard Maler
University of Ottawa, Canada

This paper demonstrates that balanced excitation and inhibition can produce a temporal sharpening of auditory cortex neurons' spiking response to tones. The balance in this case lies in the stereotyped sequence of excitation followed, after a short delay, by strong inhibition. The inhibition constrains the excitatory input so that it can only produce a spike over a very narrow time window; the resulting temporal precision of spiking may facilitate neural decoding by coincidence detection. Many theories of cortical function assume that excitation and inhibition are random and independent processes; the balance between them is merely statistical and has minimal impact on membrane potential. Clearly, this view is not correct for the synapses studied in this paper. The authors have confirmed earlier studies (see Berman and Maler, J Exp Biol 1999, 202: 1243-1253 [PMID:10210665]) that have already demonstrated this mechanism in the electrosensory system. In this case it is likely that precisely timed excitatory/inhibitory sequences enforce coincidence detection that is important for the detection of high frequency communication signals. Further work will be required to determine the role of precisely timed inhibition in auditory and perhaps other sensory systems.

Evaluated 9 Dec 2003
Faculty Comments

How to cite the Faculty of 1000 evaluation(s) for this paper

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Faculty of 1000: evaluations for Wehr M & Zador AM Nature 2003 Nov 27 426 (6965) :442-6 http://www.f1000biology.com/article/14647382/evaluation

2) To cite an evaluation by a specific Faculty member:

Leonard Maler: Faculty of 1000, 9 Dec 2003 http://www.f1000biology.com/article/14647382/evaluation

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