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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Jul 19;108(29):12131-6. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1105296108. Epub 2011 Jul 5.

A key mechanism underlying sensory experience-dependent maturation of neocortical GABAergic circuits in vivo.

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  • 1Department of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 82071, USA.


Mechanisms underlying experience-dependent refinement of cortical connections, especially GABAergic inhibitory circuits, are unknown. By using a line of mutant mice that lack activity-dependent BDNF expression (bdnf-KIV), we show that experience regulation of cortical GABAergic network is mediated by activity-driven BDNF expression. Levels of endogenous BDNF protein in the barrel cortex are strongly regulated by sensory inputs from whiskers. There is a severe alteration of excitation and inhibition balance in the barrel cortex of bdnf-KIV mice as a result of reduced inhibitory but not excitatory conductance. Within the inhibitory circuits, the mutant barrel cortex exhibits significantly reduced levels of GABA release only from the parvalbumin-expressing fast-spiking (FS) interneurons, but not other interneuron subtypes. Postnatal deprivation of sensory inputs markedly decreased perisomatic inhibition selectively from FS cells in wild-type but not bdnf-KIV mice. These results suggest that postnatal experience, through activity-driven BDNF expression, controls cortical development by regulating FS cell-mediated perisomatic inhibition in vivo.

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