Long-Term Visual Training Increases Visual Acuity and Long-Term Monocular Deprivation Promotes Ocular Dominance Plasticity in Adult Standard Cage-Raised Mice.
ABSTRACT: For routine behavioral tasks, mice predominantly rely on olfactory cues and tactile information. In contrast, their visual capabilities appear rather restricted, raising the question whether they can improve if vision gets more behaviorally relevant. We therefore performed long-term training using the visual water task (VWT): adult standard cage (SC)-raised mice were trained to swim toward a rewarded grating stimulus so that using visual information avoided excessive swimming toward nonrewarded stimuli. Indeed, and in contrast to old mice raised in a generally enriched environment (Greifzu et al., 2016), long-term VWT training increased visual acuity (VA) on average by more than 30% to 0.82 cycles per degree (cyc/deg). In an individual animal, VA even increased to 1.49 cyc/deg, i.e., beyond the rat range of VAs. Since visual experience enhances the spatial frequency threshold of the optomotor (OPT) reflex of the open eye after monocular deprivation (MD), we also quantified monocular vision after VWT training. Monocular VA did not increase reliably, and eye reopening did not initiate a decline to pre-MD values as observed by optomotry; VA values rather increased by continued VWT training. Thus, optomotry and VWT measure different parameters of mouse spatial vision. Finally, we tested whether long-term MD induced ocular dominance (OD) plasticity in the visual cortex of adult [postnatal day (P)162-P182] SC-raised mice. This was indeed the case: 40-50 days of MD induced OD shifts toward the open eye in both VWT-trained and, surprisingly, also in age-matched mice without VWT training. These data indicate that (1) long-term VWT training increases adult mouse VA, and (2) long-term MD induces OD shifts also in adult SC-raised mice.
Project description:Ocular dominance (OD) plasticity in mouse primary visual cortex (V1) declines during postnatal development and is absent beyond postnatal day 110 if mice are raised in standard cages (SCs). An enriched environment (EE) promotes OD plasticity in adult rats. Here, we explored cellular mechanisms of EE in mouse V1 and the therapeutic potential of EE to prevent impairments of plasticity after a cortical stroke. Using in vivo optical imaging, we observed that monocular deprivation in adult EE mice (i) caused a very strong OD plasticity previously only observed in 4-wk-old animals, (ii) restored already lost OD plasticity in adult SC-raised mice, and (iii) preserved OD plasticity after a stroke in the primary somatosensory cortex. Using patch-clamp electrophysiology in vitro, we also show that (iv) local inhibition was significantly reduced in V1 slices of adult EE mice and (v) the GABA/AMPA ratio was like that in 4-wk-old SC-raised animals. These observations were corroborated by in vivo analyses showing that diazepam treatment significantly reduced the OD shift of EE mice after monocular deprivation. Taken together, EE extended the sensitive phase for OD plasticity into late adulthood, rejuvenated V1 after 4 mo of SC-rearing, and protected adult mice from stroke-induced impairments of cortical plasticity. The EE effect was mediated most likely by preserving low juvenile levels of inhibition into adulthood, which potentially promoted adaptive changes in cortical circuits.
Project description:We tested the influence of a photothrombotic lesion in somatosensory cortex on plasticity in the mouse visual system and the efficacy of anti-inflammatory treatment to rescue compromised learning. To challenge plasticity mechanisms, we induced monocular deprivation (MD) in 3-mo-old mice. In control animals, MD induced an increase of visual acuity of the open eye and an ocular dominance (OD) shift towards this eye. In contrast, after photothrombosis, there was neither an enhancement of visual acuity nor an OD-shift. However, OD-plasticity was present in the hemisphere contralateral to the lesion. Anti-inflammatory treatment restored sensory learning but not OD-plasticity, as did a 2-wk delay between photothrombosis and MD. We conclude that (i) both sensory learning and cortical plasticity are compromised in the surround of a cortical lesion; (ii) transient inflammation is responsible for impaired sensory learning, suggesting anti-inflammatory treatment as a useful adjuvant therapy to support rehabilitation following stroke; and (iii) OD-plasticity cannot be conceptualized solely as a local process because nonlocal influences are more important than previously assumed.
Project description:Brief monocular deprivation (MD) shifts ocular dominance (OD) in primary visual cortex by causing depression of responses to the deprived eye. Here we address the extent to which the shift is expressed by a modification of excitatory synaptic transmission. An OD shift was first induced with 3 days of MD, and then the influences of intracortical polysynaptic inhibitory and excitatory synapses were pharmacologically removed, leaving only "feedforward" thalamocortical synaptic currents. The results show that the rapid OD shift following MD is strongly expressed at the level of thalamocortical synaptic transmission.
Project description:A defect in the maternal copy of a ubiqutin ligase gene Ube3a can produce a neurodevelopmental defect in human children known as Angelman syndrome. We investigated the role of the maternally expressed Ube3a gene in experience-dependent development and plasticity of the mouse visual system. As demonstrated by optical imaging, rapid ocular dominance (OD) plasticity after brief monocular deprivation (MD) was severely impaired during the critical period (CP) in the visual cortex (VC) of Ube3a maternal-deficient (m-/p+) mice. Prolonged MD elicited significant plasticity in m-/p+ mice that never matched the level seen in control animals. In older animals after the CP, 7-day MD elicited mild OD shifts in both control and m-/p+ mice; however, the OD shifts in m-/p+ mice lacked the strengthening of visual responses to the two eyes characteristic of normal adult plasticity. Anatomic effects of the maternal deficiency include reduced spine density on basal, but not apical, dendrites of pyramidal neurons in the binocular region of the VC. Imprinting of Ube3a expression was not fully established in the early postnatal period, consistent with the normal development of cortical retinotopy and visual acuity that we observed in m-/p+ mice, but was fully established by the onset of the CP. These results demonstrate that paternal and maternal genomes are not functionally equivalent for cortical plasticity, and that maternally expressed Ube3a is required for normal experience-dependent modification of cortical circuits during and after the CP.
Project description:Gama amino butyric acid (GABA) inhibition plays an important role in the onset and offset of the critical period for ocular dominance (OD) plasticity in the primary visual cortex. Previous studies have focused on the involvement of GABAA receptors, while the potential contribution of GABAB receptors to OD plasticity has been neglected. In this study, the GABAB receptor antagonist SCH50911 or agonist baclofen was infused into the primary visual cortex of cats concurrently with a period of monocular deprivation (MD). Using single-unit recordings we found that the OD shift induced by four days of MD during the critical period was impaired by infusion of the antagonist SCH50911, but enhanced by infusion of the agonist baclofen. In contrast, seven days of MD in adult cats did not induce any significant OD shift, even when combined with the infusion of SCH50911 or baclofen. Together, these findings indicate that an endogenous GABAB receptor-mediated inhibition contributes to juvenile, but not adult, OD plasticity.
Project description:Ocular dominance plasticity in the developing primary visual cortex is initiated by monocular deprivation (MD) and consolidated during subsequent sleep. To clarify how visual experience and sleep affect neuronal activity and plasticity, we continuously recorded extragranular visual cortex fast-spiking (FS) interneurons and putative principal (i.e., excitatory) neurons in freely behaving cats across periods of waking MD and post-MD sleep. Consistent with previous reports in mice, MD induces two related changes in FS interneurons: a response shift in favor of the closed eye and depression of firing. Spike-timing-dependent depression of open-eye-biased principal neuron inputs to FS interneurons may mediate these effects. During post-MD nonrapid eye movement sleep, principal neuron firing increases and becomes more phase-locked to slow wave and spindle oscillations. Ocular dominance (OD) shifts in favor of open-eye stimulation--evident only after post-MD sleep--are proportional to MD-induced changes in FS interneuron activity and to subsequent sleep-associated changes in principal neuron activity. OD shifts are greatest in principal neurons that fire 40-300 ms after neighboring FS interneurons during post-MD slow waves. Based on these data, we propose that MD-induced changes in FS interneurons play an instructive role in ocular dominance plasticity, causing disinhibition among open-eye-biased principal neurons, which drive plasticity throughout the visual cortex during subsequent sleep.
Project description:The classic example of experience-dependent cortical plasticity is the ocular dominance (OD) shift in visual cortex after monocular deprivation (MD). The experimental model of homosynaptic long-term depression (LTD) was originally introduced to study the mechanisms that could account for deprivation-induced loss of visual responsiveness. One established LTD mechanism is a loss of sensitivity to the neurotransmitter glutamate caused by internalization of postsynaptic alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid receptors (AMPARs). Although it has been shown that MD similarly causes a loss of AMPARs from visual cortical synapses, the contribution of this change to the OD shift has not been established. Using an herpes simplex virus (HSV) vector, we expressed in visual cortical neurons a peptide (G2CT) designed to block AMPAR internalization by hindering the association of the C-terminal tail of the AMPAR GluR2 subunit with the AP2 clathrin adaptor complex. We found that G2CT expression interferes with NMDA receptor (NMDAR)-dependent AMPAR endocytosis and LTD, without affecting baseline synaptic transmission. When expressed in vivo, G2CT completely blocked the OD shift and depression of deprived-eye responses after MD without affecting baseline visual responsiveness or experience-dependent response potentiation in layer 4 of visual cortex. These data suggest that AMPAR internalization is essential for the loss of synaptic strength caused by sensory deprivation in visual cortex.
Project description:It is well known that extensive practice of a perceptual task can improve visual performance, termed perceptual learning. The goal of the present study was to evaluate the dependency of visual improvements on the features of training stimuli (i.e., spatial frequency). Twenty-eight observers were divided into training and control groups. Visual acuity (VA) and contrast sensitivity function (CSF) were measured and compared before and after training. All observers in the training group were trained in a monocular grating detection task near their individual cutoff spatial frequencies. The results showed that perceptual learning induced significant visual improvement, which was dependent on the cutoff spatial frequency, with a greater improvement magnitude and transfer of perceptual learning observed for those trained with higher spatial frequencies. However, VA significantly improved following training but was not related to the cutoff spatial frequency. The results may broaden the understanding of the nature of the learning rule and the neural plasticity of different cortical areas.
Project description:Experience-driven circuit changes underlie learning and memory. Monocular deprivation (MD) engages synaptic mechanisms of ocular dominance (OD) plasticity and generates robust increases in dendritic spine density on L5 pyramidal neurons. Here we show that the paired immunoglobulin-like receptor B (PirB) negatively regulates spine density, as well as the threshold for adult OD plasticity. In PirB(-/-) mice, spine density and stability are significantly greater than WT, associated with higher-frequency miniature synaptic currents, larger long-term potentiation, and deficient long-term depression. Although MD generates the expected increase in spine density in WT, in PirB(-/-) this increase is occluded. In adult PirB(-/-), OD plasticity is larger and more rapid than in WT, consistent with the maintenance of elevated spine density. Thus, PirB normally regulates spine and excitatory synapse density and consequently the threshold for new learning throughout life.
Project description:Monocular lid closure (MC) causes a profound shift in the ocular dominance (OD) of neurons in primary visual cortex (V1). Anatomical studies in both cat and mouse V1 suggest that large-scale structural rearrangements of eye-specific thalamocortical (TC) axons in response to MC occur much more slowly than the shift in OD. Consequently, there has been considerable debate as to whether the plasticity of TC synapses, which transmit competing visual information from each eye to V1, contributes to the early functional consequences of MC or is simply a feature of long-term deprivation. Here, we used quantitative immuno-electron microscopy to examine the possibility that alterations of TC synapses occur rapidly enough to impact OD after brief MC. The effect of short-term deprivation on TC synaptic structure was examined in male C57BL/6 mice that underwent 3 and 7 d of MC or monocular retinal inactivation (MI) with tetrodotoxin. The data show that 3 d of MC is sufficient to induce substantial remodeling of TC synapses. In contrast, 3 d of MI, which alters TC activity but does not shift OD, does not significantly affect the structure of TC synapses. Our results support the hypothesis that the rapid plasticity of TC synapses is a key step in the sequence of events that shift OD in visual cortex.