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J Neurosci. 2014 Jul 16;34(29):9812-6. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0875-14.2014.

Emergence of feature-specific connectivity in cortical microcircuits in the absence of visual experience.

Author information

1
Department of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology, University College London, London, WC1E 6DE, United Kingdom, and.
2
Department of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology, University College London, London, WC1E 6DE, United Kingdom, and Biozentrum, University of Basel, 4056 Basel, Switzerland.
3
Department of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology, University College London, London, WC1E 6DE, United Kingdom, and Biozentrum, University of Basel, 4056 Basel, Switzerland sonja.hofer@unibas.ch.

Abstract

In primary visual cortex (V1), connectivity between layer 2/3 (L2/3) excitatory neurons undergoes extensive reorganization after the onset of visual experience whereby neurons with similar feature selectivity form functional microcircuits (Ko et al., 2011, 2013). It remains unknown whether visual experience is required for the developmental refinement of intracortical circuitry or whether this maturation is guided intrinsically. Here, we correlated the connectivity between V1 L2/3 neurons assayed by simultaneous whole-cell recordings in vitro to their response properties measured by two-photon calcium imaging in vivo in dark-reared mice. We found that neurons with similar responses to oriented gratings or natural movies became preferentially connected in the absence of visual experience. However, the relationship between connectivity and similarity of visual responses to natural movies was not as strong in dark-reared as in normally reared mice. Moreover, dark rearing prevented the normally occurring loss of connections between visually nonresponsive neurons after eye opening (Ko et al., 2013). Therefore, our data suggest that the absence of visual input does not prevent the emergence of functionally specific recurrent connectivity in cortical circuits; however, visual experience is required for complete microcircuit maturation.

KEYWORDS:

experience-dependent; functional microcircuit organization; microcircuit development; mouse visual cortex; synaptic connectivity; two-photon imaging

PMID:
25031418
PMCID:
PMC4099553
DOI:
10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0875-14.2014
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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