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Synaptic and molecular mechanisms of experience-dependent plasticity in the developing barrel cortex in vivo: role of horizontal connection modifications

Synaptic and molecular mechanisms of experience-dependent plasticity in the developing barrel cortex in vivo: role of horizontal connection modifications

Objective

Experience-dependent plasticity is general to the mammalian neocortex after sensory deprivations. Anyway, the precise synaptic and cellular mechanisms underlying map cortical plasticity in vivo are not known, with particular reference to potentiation of responses to spared pathways. The possibility has been raised that modifications of horizontal connections linking different cortical columns play a crucial role.

The barrel cortex of developing rats will be used as a model system to test the hypothesis that modifications of horizontal connections in supragranular layers underlie the plasticity of receptive fields (RFs) observed after whisker deprivation. Animals will be subjected to two different deprivation protocols and, after one week, in vivo patch clamp recordings will be targeted to spared and deprived columns through concurrent voltage sensitive dye imaging. Reconstruction of layer 2/3 recorded neurons, and two-photon imaging of GFP-labelled horizontal connections in separate animals, will be made to see whether RF plasticity is accompanied by structural modifications of axonal connections of layer 2/3 pyramids in vivo.

Molecular targeting studies (through osmotic minipump implantation in the vicinity of the barrel cortex) will be made to explore the r ole of specific attractants (Netrins, TrkB ligands) and repellents (Semaphorins, Nogo, A-type Ephrins) axon guidance molecules in this phenomenon. The attainable results will describe a precise synaptic mechanism underlying experience-dependent plasticity in the mammalian brain, using in vivo techniques with cellular resolution. Moreover, the results of the molecular targeting experiments will clarify key molecular mediators of this phenomenon and will show a causal relationship between anatomical modifications of horizontal connections of layer 2/3 pyramids and the electrophysiologically documented RFs modifications.

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Coordinator

MAX-PLANCK-GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FÖRDERUNG DER WISSENSCHAFTEN E.V.

Address

HofgartenstraSSE 8
MÜNchen

Germany

Administrative Contact

Bert SAKMANN (Prof. Dr.)

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 7620

  • Start date

    15 April 2005

  • End date

    14 April 2007

Funded under:

FP6-MOBILITY

Coordinated by:

MAX-PLANCK-GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FÖRDERUNG DER WISSENSCHAFTEN E.V.

Germany