Learning-related congruent and incongruent changes of excitation and inhibition in distinct cortical areas

PLoS Biol. 2022 May 31;20(5):e3001667. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3001667. eCollection 2022 May.


Excitatory and inhibitory neurons in diverse cortical regions are likely to contribute differentially to the transformation of sensory information into goal-directed motor plans. Here, we investigate the relative changes across mouse sensorimotor cortex in the activity of putative excitatory and inhibitory neurons-categorized as regular spiking (RS) or fast spiking (FS) according to their action potential (AP) waveform-comparing before and after learning of a whisker detection task with delayed licking as perceptual report. Surprisingly, we found that the whisker-evoked activity of RS versus FS neurons changed in opposite directions after learning in primary and secondary whisker motor cortices, while it changed similarly in primary and secondary orofacial motor cortices. Our results suggest that changes in the balance of excitation and inhibition in local circuits concurrent with changes in the long-range synaptic inputs in distinct cortical regions might contribute to performance of delayed sensory-to-motor transformation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Mice
  • Motor Cortex* / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Somatosensory Cortex* / physiology
  • Vibrissae

Grants and funding

This work was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (310030B_166595, 31003A_182010 and CRSII5_177237) (CCHP), the European Research Council (ERC-2011-ADG 293660) (CCHP), European Union’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (665667, 798617) (KT), the Research Foundation for Opto-science and Technology (KT), the Brain Science Foundation (KT), the Japan Society for the Promotion of Sciences (KT), and the Ichiro Kanehara Foundation (KT). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.