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Neuron. 2005 Mar 24;45(6):829-36.

Activity-dependent matching of excitatory and inhibitory inputs during refinement of visual receptive fields.

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Division of Neurobiology, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, CA 94720, USA.


The receptive field (RF) of single visual neurons undergoes progressive refinement during development. It remains largely unknown how the excitatory and inhibitory inputs on single developing neurons are refined in a coordinated manner to allow the formation of functionally correct circuits. Using whole-cell voltage-clamp recording from Xenopus tectal neurons, we found that RFs determined by excitatory and inhibitory inputs in more mature tectal neurons are spatially matched, with each spot stimulus evoking balanced synaptic excitation and inhibition. This emerges during development through a gradual reduction in the RF size and a transition from disparate to matched topography of excitatory and inhibitory inputs to the tectal neurons. Altering normal spiking activity of tectal neurons by either blocking or elevating GABA(A) receptor activity significantly impeded the developmental reduction and topographic matching of RFs. Thus, appropriate inhibitory activity is essential for the coordinated refinement of excitatory and inhibitory connections.

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