Through a multicentered collaboration, joining experts from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and University Health Network (UHN), Yao and colleagues are presenting this new release, highlighting how depression impairs cortical inhibition and stimulus processing.

Cortical processing depends on finely tuned excitatory and inhibitory connections in neuronal microcircuits. Reduced inhibition by somatostatin-expressing interneurons is a key component of altered inhibition associated with treatment-resistant major depressive disorder (depression), which is implicated in cognitive deficits and rumination, but the link remains to be better established mechanistically in humans. Here we test the effect of reduced somatostatin interneuron-mediated inhibition on cortical processing in human neuronal microcircuits using a data-driven computational approach. We integrate human cellular, circuit, and gene expression data to generate detailed models of human cortical microcircuits in health and depression. We simulate microcircuit baseline and response activity and find a reduced signal-to-noise ratio and increased false/failed detection of stimuli due to a higher baseline activity in depression. We thus apply models of human cortical microcircuits to demonstrate mechanistically how reduced inhibition impairs cortical processing in depression, providing quantitative links between altered inhibition and cognitive deficits.