Neurons in the monkey dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) fire persistently during the delay period of working memory tasks. To determine how repetitive firing affects the efficacy of synaptic inputs to DLPFC layer 3 neurons, we examined the effects of repetitive presynaptic stimulation on the amplitude and temporal summation of EPSPs. Recordings were obtained in monkey DLPFC brain slices from regular spiking (RS) pyramidal cells and two types of interneurons, fast spiking (FS) and adapting non-pyramidal (ANP) cells. Repetitive stimulation of presynaptic axons in layer 3 caused EPSP depression in RS and FS neurons, but EPSP facilitation in ANP cells. A shorter EPSP duration produced weaker temporal summation in FS neurons compared to the other cell classes. Thus, due to the combined effects of dynamic changes in EPSP amplitude and differences in temporal summation, the effect of a presynaptic spike train differed according to the postsynaptic cell class. Similar results were obtained when recording unitary EPSPs evoked in connected pairs of presynaptic RS pyramidal cells and postsynaptic RS, FS or ANP neurons. In addition, similar differences in the efficacy of sustained inputs among cell classes were observed when delay-related firing was reproduced in vitro by stimulating inputs with the timing of spike trains recorded from the DLPFC of monkeys performing a delayed-response task. We suggest that the transition from baseline firing rates to higher frequency delay-related firing may lead to the differential activation of distinct cell populations, with corresponding significant effects on the patterns of activity in local prefrontal circuits.
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