Yizhar, O., Fenno, L. E., Prigge, M., Schneider, F., Davidson, T. J., O’Shea, D. J., Sohal, V. S., Goshen, I., Finkelstein, J., Paz, J. T., Stehfest, K., Fudim, R., Ramakrishnan, C., Huguenard, J. R., Hegemann, P., & Deisseroth, K. (2011). Neocortical excitation/inhibition balance in information processing and social dysfunction. Nature, 477(7363), 171-178. doi:10.1038/nature10360
Severe behavioral deficits in psychiatric diseases such as autism and schizophrenia have been hypothesized to arise from elevations in the cellular balance of excitation and inhibition (E/I balance) within microcircuitry in the brain. This novel study used optogenetic tools to investigate this hypothesis in freely moving mammals, and to explore the associated circuit physiology. Elevation, but not reduction, of cellular E/I balance within the mouse medial prefrontal cortex was found to elicit a profound impairment in cellular information processing, associated with specific behavioral impairments and increased high-frequency power in the 30-80 Hz range, which have both been observed in clinical conditions in humans. Consistent with the E/I balance hypothesis, the opposite thereof partially rescued social deficits caused by E/I balance elevation. These results provide support for the elevated cellular E/I balance hypothesis of severe neuropsychiatric disease-related symptoms.