Summation of ionotropic receptor-mediated responses is critical in neuronal computation by shaping input-output characteristics of neurons. However, arithmetics of summation for metabotropic signals are not known. We characterized the combined ionotropic and metabotropic output of neocortical neurogliaform cells (NGFCs) using electrophysiological and anatomical methods. These experiments revealed that GABA receptors are activated up to 1.8 microns from release sites and confirmed coactivation of putative NGFCs in superficial cortical layers in vivo. Triple recordings from presynaptic NGFCs converging to a postsynaptic neuron revealed sublinear summation of ionotropic GABAA responses and linear summation of metabotropic GABAB responses. Based on a model combining distances of volume transmission from release sites and distributions of all NGFC axon terminals, we postulate that 2 to 3 NGFCs provide input to a point in the neuropil. We suggest that interactions of metabotropic GABAergic responses remain linear even if most superficial layer interneurons specialized to recruit GABAB receptors are simultaneously active.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience