The maturation of cortical inhibition provided by parvalbumin-containing basket cells derived from the medial ganglionic eminence (MGE) is a key event in starting the enhanced visual cortical plasticity during the critical period. Although it is generally assumed that a further increase in inhibition closes the critical period again, it was recently shown that embryonic interneurons derived from the MGE can induce an additional, artificial critical period when injected into the visual cortex of young mice. It has, however, remained open whether this effect was indeed specific for MGE-derived cells, and whether critical period-like plasticity could also be induced in fully adult animals. To clarify these issues, we injected explants from either the MGE or the caudal ganglionic eminence (CGE) into the visual cortices of fully adult mice, and performed monocular deprivation 33 days later for 4 days. Animals implanted with MGE cells, but not with CGE cells, showed marked ocular dominance plasticity. Immunohistochemistry confirmed that the injected cells from both sources migrated far in the host cortex, that most developed into neurons producing GABA, and that only cells from the MGE expressed parvalbumin. Thus, our results confirm that the plasticity-inducing effect of embryonic interneurons is specific for cells from the MGE, and is independent of the host animal's age.
Keywords: Ganglionic eminences; Inhibitory interneurons; Ocular dominance plasticity; Visual cortex.