Parvalbumin-containing (PV+) basket cells in mammalian neocortex are fast-spiking interneurons that regulate the activity of local neuronal circuits in multiple ways. Even though PV+ basket cells are locally projecting interneurons, their axons are myelinated. Can this myelination contribute in any significant way to the speed of action potential propagation along such short axons? We used dual whole cell recordings of synaptically connected PV+ interneurons and their postsynaptic target in acutely-prepared neocortical slices from adult mice to measure the amplitude and latency of single presynaptic action potential-evoked inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs). These same neurons were then imaged with immunofluorescent array tomography, the synaptic contacts between them identified and a precise map of the connections was generated, with the exact axonal length and extent of myelin coverage. Our results support that myelination of PV+ basket cells significantly increases conduction velocity, and does so to a degree that can be physiologically relevant.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience