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Synaptic changes upon removal of extracellular perineuronal nets in adult mouse visual cortex

Abstract : The maturation of sensory processing undergoes a critical period (CP), during which cortical neural circuits are sculpted and changed by experience. The closure of CP is paralleled by the accumulation of extracellular perineuronal nets (PNN) around parvalbumin (PV)-positive interneurons. The degradation of PNNs in adult animals was shown to re-open the structural plasticity typical of the CP. We aimed at defining i) the neurophysiological properties of PV cells and principal neurons in layer 4 of primary visual cortex (V1) during the establishment of the CP ii) how these properties are altered by PNN accumulation. We found a robust age-dependent increase of input-output firing relationships in both cell types. Importantly, in vivo PNN removal in adult V1 increased both excitatory and inhibitory transmission selectively onto PV, leaving their excitability intact, and recapitulating younger states. In addition, triggering plasticity in vivo by monocular deprivation did not boost the increased activity onto PV cells. Interestingly, paired recordings in layer 4 showed no changes of inhibitory unitary connections, with or without PNNs. In order to understand the circuit mechanisms underlined, we expressed the light-sensitive opsin ChR2 in the visual thalamus. We found that PNN removal increases the recruitment of PV cells by thalamocortical fibers leading to an increase of feedforward inhibition. These results are in agreement with V1 recordings in vivo of visually evoked potentials in response of increasing contrast. Indeed, PNN disruption caused a reduction of the slope of the contrast sensitivity curve, indicating a higher recruitment of inhibition.
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Giulia Faini. Synaptic changes upon removal of extracellular perineuronal nets in adult mouse visual cortex. Neurons and Cognition [q-bio.NC]. Université Pierre et Marie Curie - Paris VI, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017PA066363⟩. ⟨tel-01737978⟩

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