Assemblies of Perisomatic GABAergic Neurons in the Developing Barrel Cortex

Neuron. 2020 Jan 8;105(1):93-105.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2019.10.007. Epub 2019 Nov 25.


The developmental journey of cortical interneurons encounters several activity-dependent milestones. During the early postnatal period in developing mice, GABAergic neurons are transient preferential recipients of thalamic inputs and undergo activity-dependent migration arrest, wiring, and programmed cell-death. Despite their importance for the emergence of sensory experience and the role of activity in their integration into cortical networks, the collective dynamics of GABAergic neurons during that neonatal period remain unknown. Here, we study coordinated activity in GABAergic cells of the mouse barrel cortex using in vivo calcium imaging. We uncover a transient structure in GABAergic population dynamics that disappears in a sensory-dependent process. Its building blocks are anatomically clustered GABAergic assemblies mostly composed by prospective parvalbumin-expressing cells. These progressively widen their territories until forming a uniform perisomatic GABAergic network. Such transient patterning of GABAergic activity is a functional scaffold that links the cortex to the external world prior to active exploration. VIDEO ABSTRACT.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Female
  • GABAergic Neurons / physiology*
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase / genetics
  • Interneurons / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neural Pathways / growth & development
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Neuroimaging
  • Parvalbumins / metabolism
  • Sensory Deprivation / physiology
  • Somatosensory Cortex / growth & development*
  • Somatosensory Cortex / metabolism
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology*
  • Somatostatin / metabolism
  • Thalamus / physiology*
  • Vibrissae / pathology


  • Parvalbumins
  • Somatostatin
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase
  • glutamate decarboxylase 1
  • Calcium