Spike-timing-dependent potentiation of sensory surround in the somatosensory cortex is facilitated by deprivation-mediated disinhibition

Neuron. 2012 Aug 9;75(3):490-502. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2012.05.020.


Functional maps in the cerebral cortex reorganize in response to changes in experience, but the synaptic underpinnings remain uncertain. Here, we demonstrate that layer (L) 2/3 pyramidal cell synapses in mouse barrel cortex can be potentiated upon pairing of whisker-evoked postsynaptic potentials (PSPs) with action potentials (APs). This spike-timing-dependent long-term potentiation (STD-LTP) was only effective for PSPs evoked by deflections of a whisker in the neuron's receptive field center, and not its surround. Trimming of all except two whiskers rapidly opened the possibility to drive STD-LTP by the spared surround whisker. This facilitated STD-LTP was associated with a strong decrease in the surrounding whisker-evoked inhibitory conductance and partially occluded picrotoxin-mediated LTP facilitation. Taken together, our data demonstrate that sensory deprivation-mediated disinhibition facilitates STD-LTP from the sensory surround, which may promote correlation- and experience-dependent expansion of receptive fields.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Long-Term Potentiation / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Sensory Deprivation / physiology
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology*
  • Vibrissae / innervation