Sensitivity profile for orientation selectivity in the visual cortex of goggle-reared mice

PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e40630. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0040630. Epub 2012 Jul 6.


It has been widely accepted that ocular dominance in the responses of visual cortical neurons can change depending on visual experience in a postnatal period. However, experience-dependent plasticity for orientation selectivity, which is another important response property of visual cortical neurons, is not yet fully understood. To address this issue, using intrinsic signal imaging and two-photon calcium imaging we attempted to observe the alteration of orientation selectivity in the visual cortex of juvenile and adult mice reared with head-mounted goggles, through which animals can experience only the vertical orientation. After one week of goggle rearing, the density of neurons optimally responding to the exposed orientation increased, while that responding to unexposed orientations decreased. These changes can be interpreted as a reallocation of preferred orientations among visually responsive neurons. Our obtained sensitivity profile for orientation selectivity showed a marked peak at 5 weeks and sustained elevation at 12 weeks and later. These features indicate the existence of a critical period between 4 and 7 weeks and residual orientation plasticity in adult mice. The presence of a dip in the sensitivity profile at 10 weeks suggests that different mechanisms are involved in orientation plasticity in childhood and adulthood.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Calcium Signaling / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Orientation / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*