Embryonic interneurons from the medial, but not the caudal ganglionic eminence trigger ocular dominance plasticity in adult mice

Brain Struct Funct. 2017 Jan;222(1):539-547. doi: 10.1007/s00429-016-1232-y. Epub 2016 May 10.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Movement
  • Dominance, Ocular*
  • GABAergic Neurons / physiology
  • Interneurons / physiology*
  • Male
  • Median Eminence / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neuronal Plasticity*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Sensory Deprivation / physiology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology