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J Neurosci. 2010 Jan 27;30(4):1551-9. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5025-09.2010.

Difference in binocularity and ocular dominance plasticity between GABAergic and excitatory cortical neurons.

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Brain Science Institute, RIKEN, Wako 351-0198 Japan, Tottori University Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Yonago 683-8503, Japan.


Neuronal circuits in the cerebral cortex consist mainly of glutamatergic/excitatory and GABAergic/inhibitory neurons. In the visual cortex, the binocular responsiveness of neurons is modified by monocular visual deprivation during the critical period of postnatal development. Although GABAergic neurons are considered to play a key role in the expression of the critical period, it is not known whether their binocular responsiveness and ocular dominance plasticity are different from those of excitatory neurons. Recently, the end of the critical period was found to be not strict so that cortical neurons in the adult still have some ocular dominance plasticity. It is not known, however, which type of neurons or both maintain such plasticity in adulthood. To address these issues, we applied in vivo two-photon functional Ca(2+) imaging to transgenic mice whose GABAergic neurons express a yellow fluorescent protein called Venus. We found that GABAergic neurons are more binocular than excitatory neurons in the normal visual cortex, and both types of neurons show the same degree of modifiability to monocular visual deprivation during the critical period, but the modifiability of GABAergic neurons is stronger than that of excitatory neurons after the end of the critical period.

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