Received: February 13, 2019; Revised: June 28, 2019; Accepted: July 15, 2019
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It is known that top-down associative inputs terminate on distal apical dendrites in layer 1 while bottom-up sensory inputs terminate on perisomatic dendrites of layer 2/3 pyramidal neurons (L2/3 PyNs) in primary sensory cortex. Since studies on synaptic transmission in layer 1 are sparse, we investigated the basic properties and cholinergic modulation of synaptic transmission in layer 1 and compared them to those in perisomatic dendrites of L2/3 PyNs of rat primary visual cortex. Using extracellular stimulations of layer 1 and layer 4, we evoked excitatory postsynaptic current/potential in synapses in distal apical dendrites (L1-EPSC/L1-EPSP) and those in perisomatic dendrites (L4-EPSC/L4-EPSP), respectively. Kinetics of L1-EPSC was slower than that of L4-EPSC. L1-EPSC showed presynaptic depression while L4-EPSC was facilitating. In contrast, inhibitory postsynaptic currents showed similar paired-pulse ratio between layer 1 and layer 4 stimulations with depression only at 100 Hz. Cholinergic stimulation induced presynaptic depression by activating muscarinic receptors in excitatory and inhibitory synapses to similar extents in both inputs. However, nicotinic stimulation enhanced excitatory synaptic transmission by ~20% in L4-EPSC. Rectification index of AMPA receptors and AMPA/NMDA ratio were similar between synapses in distal apical and perisomatic dendrites. These results provide basic properties and cholinergic modulation of synaptic transmission between distal apical and perisomatic dendrites in L2/3 PyNs of the visual cortex, which might be important for controlling information processing balance depending on attentional state.