PubMed 12417641

Referenced in Channelpedia wiki pages of: none

Automatically associated channels: Kv2.1

Title: Lesion-induced thalamocortical axonal plasticity in the S1 cortex is independent of NMDA receptor function in excitatory cortical neurons.

Authors: Akash Datwani, Takuji Iwasato, Shigeyoshi Itohara, Reha S Erzurumlu

Journal, date & volume: J. Neurosci., 2002 Nov 1 , 22, 9171-5

PubMed link:

Neural activity plays an important role in refinement and plasticity of synaptic connections in developing vertebrate sensory systems. The rodent whisker-barrel pathway is an excellent model system to investigate the role of activity in formation of patterned neural connections and their plasticity. When whiskers on the snout or the sensory nerves innervating them are damaged during a critical period in development, whisker-specific patterns are altered along the trigeminal pathway, including the primary somatosensory (S1) cortex. In this context, NMDA receptor (NMDAR)-mediated activity has been implicated in patterning and plasticity of somatosensory maps. Using CxNR1KO mice, in which NMDAR1 (NR1), the essential NMDAR subunit gene, is disrupted only in excitatory cortical neurons, we showed that NMDAR-mediated activity is essential for whisker-specific patterning of barrel cells in layer IV of the S1 cortex. In CxNR1KO mice, thalamocortical axons (TCAs) representing the large whiskers segregate into rudimentary patches, but barrels as cellular modules do not develop. In this study, we examined lesion-induced TCA plasticity in CxNR1KO mice. TCA patterns underwent normal structural plasticity when their peripheral inputs were altered after whisker lesions during the critical period. The extent of the lesion-induced morphological plasticity and the duration of the critical period were quantitatively indistinguishable between CxNR1KO and control mice. We conclude that TCA plasticity in the neocortex is independent of postsynaptic NMDAR activity in excitatory cortical neurons, and that non-NMDAR-mediated cortical activity and/or subcortical mechanisms must be operational in this process.