Loss of visually driven synaptic responses in layer 4 regular-spiking neurons of rat visual cortex in absence of competing inputs

Cereb Cortex. 2012 Sep;22(9):2171-81. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhr304. Epub 2011 Nov 2.


Monocular deprivation (MD) during development shifts the ocular preference of primary visual cortex (V1) neurons by depressing closed-eye responses and potentiating open-eye responses. As these 2 processes are temporally and mechanistically distinct, we tested whether loss of responsiveness occurs also in absence of competing inputs. We thus compared the effects of long-term MD in layer 4 regular-spiking pyramidal neurons (L4Ns) of binocular and monocular V1 (bV1 and mV1) with whole-cell recordings. In bV1, input depression was larger than potentiation, and the ocular dominance shift was larger for spike outputs. MD-but not retinal inactivation with tetrodotoxin-caused a comparable loss of synaptic and spike responsiveness in mV1, which is innervated only by the deprived eye. Conversely, brief MD depressed synaptic responses only in bV1. MD-driven depression in mV1 was accompanied by a proportional reduction of visual thalamic inputs, as assessed upon pharmacological silencing of intracortical transmission. Finally, sub- and suprathreshold responsiveness was similarly degraded in L4Ns of bV1 upon complete deprivation of patterned vision through a binocular deprivation period of comparable length. Thus, loss of synaptic inputs from the deprived eye occurs also in absence of competition in the main thalamorecipient lamina, albeit at a slower pace.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*
  • Vision, Monocular / physiology*
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*