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J Comp Neurol. 1999 Jun 28;409(2):261-73.

Development of inhibitory circuitry in visual and auditory cortex of postnatal ferrets: immunocytochemical localization of GABAergic neurons.

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1
Department of Biology, Georgia State University, Atlanta 30302, USA.

Abstract

The goal of this study was to describe the development of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-containing neurons in visual and auditory cortex of ferrets. The laminar and tangential distribution of neurons containing excitatory, inhibitory, and neuromodulatory substances constrain the potential circuits which can form during development. Ferrets are born at an early stage of brain development, allowing examination of inhibitory circuit formation in cerebral cortex prior to thalamocortical ingrowth and cortical plate differentiation. Immunocytochemically labelled nonpyramidal GABA neurons were present from postnatal day 1 throughout development, in all cortical layers, and generally followed the inside-out pattern of neuronal migration into the cortical plate. Prior to postnatal day 14, pyramidal neurons with transient GABA immunoreactivity were also observed. The density of Nissl-stained and GABA-immunoreactive neurons was high early in development, declined markedly by postnatal day 20, then remained relatively constant until adulthood. However, examination of the proportion of GABA neurons revealed an unexpected late peak at postnatal day 60, then a decrease in adulthood. Visual and auditory cortex were similar in most respects, but the peak at postnatal day 60 and the final proportion of GABA neurons was higher in auditory cortex. The late peak suggests that inhibitory circuitry is stabilized relatively late in sensory cortical development, and thus that GABA neurons could provide an important substrate for experience-dependent plasticity at late stages of development.

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