Binocular deprivation induces both age-dependent and age-independent forms of plasticity in parvalbumin inhibitory neuron visual response properties.
Activity of cortical inhibitory interneurons is rapidly reduced in response to monocular deprivation during the critical period for ocular dominance plasticity and in response to salient events encountered during learning. In the case of primary sensory cortex, a decrease in mean evoked firing rate of parvalbumin-positive (PV) inhibitory neurons is causally linked to a reorganization of excitatory networks following sensory perturbation. Converging evidence indicates that it is deprivation, and not an imbalance between open- and closed-eye inputs, that triggers rapid plasticity in PV neurons. However, this has not been directly tested in vivo. Using two-photon guided cell-attached recording, we examined the impact of closing both eyes for 24 h on PV neuron response properties in mouse primary visual cortex. We found that binocular deprivation induces a 30% reduction in stimulus-evoked mean firing rate and that this reduction is specific to critical period-aged mice. The number of PV neurons showing detectable tuning to orientation increased after 24 h of deprivation, and this effect was also specific to critical period-aged mice. In contrast to evoked mean firing rate and orientation tuning, measurements of trial-to-trial variability revealed that stimulus-driven decreases in variability are significantly dampened by deprivation during both the critical period and the postcritical period. These data establish that open-eye inputs are not required to drive deprivation-induced weakening of PV neuron evoked activity and that other aspects of in vivo PV neuron activity are malleable throughout life. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Parvalbumin-positive (PV) neurons in sensory cortex are generally considered to be mediators of experience-dependent plasticity, and their plasticity is restricted to the critical period. However, in regions outside of sensory cortex, accumulating evidence demonstrates that PV neurons are plastic in adults, raising the possibility that aspects of PV response properties may be plastic throughout life. Here we identify a feature of in vivo PV neuron activity that remains plastic past the critical period.
Feese, BD; Pafundo, DE; Schmehl, MN; Kuhlman, SJ
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