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Curr Biol. 2012 Feb 7;22(3):253-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2011.12.026. Epub 2012 Jan 19.

Peripheral and central inputs shape network dynamics in the developing visual cortex in vivo.

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Department of Synapse and Network Development, Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, 1105 BA Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Spontaneous network activity constitutes a central theme during the development of neuronal circuitry [1, 2]. Before the onset of vision, retinal neurons generate waves of spontaneous activity that are relayed along the ascending visual pathway [3, 4] and shape activity patterns in these regions [5, 6]. The spatiotemporal nature of retinal waves is required to establish precise functional maps in higher visual areas, and their disruption results in enlarged axonal projection areas (e.g., [7-10]). However, how retinal inputs shape network dynamics in the visual cortex on the cellular level is unknown. Using in vivo two-photon calcium imaging, we identified two independently occurring patterns of network activity in the mouse primary visual cortex (V1) before and at the onset of vision. Acute manipulations of spontaneous retinal activity revealed that one type of network activity largely originated in the retina and was characterized by low synchronicity (L-) events. In addition, we identified a type of high synchronicity (H-) events that required gap junction signaling but were independent of retinal input. Moreover, the patterns differed in wave progression and developmental profile. Our data suggest that different activity patterns have complementary functions during the formation of synaptic circuits in the developing visual cortex.

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