Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Switching neurons

25.01.2010
Inhibitory neurons in the visual cortex of the brain exhibit a bidirectional form of plasticity after visual deprivation

If both eyes are open during mammalian development, pyramidal neurons in the visual cortex mature such that they ‘preferentially’ fire in response to the visual stimuli of one particular eye. If that eye is occluded during a critical period of development, the pyramidal neurons switch and fire in response to visual stimuli of the non-occluded eye. This leads to a loss of representation of the occluded eye in the visual cortex and the loss of visual acuity in that eye.

Pyramidal neurons receive inputs from so-called inhibitory interneurons within the visual cortex, but it has been unclear how the interneurons respond to visual deprivation, and what their role is in inducing this plasticity of pyramidal neuron response. Now, a team led by Takao Hensch at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute (BSI) in Wako, has reported that inhibitory neurons also change their responsiveness to visual stimuli after one eye is occluded1. Surprisingly, unlike pyramidal neurons, which have a unidirectional change in responsiveness—only towards the open eye—the inhibitory neurons have a bidirectional change: initially, they respond preferentially to stimuli presented to the occluded eye, but later, they switch their responsiveness to the open eye.

In mice in which both eyes were open, Hensch and colleagues found that blocking the signals going from the inhibitory neurons to the pyramidal neurons caused the pyramidal neurons to lose their selective responsiveness to one eye. When they occluded one eye, blocking the inhibitory neuron signals caused the pyramidal neurons to flip their responsiveness from one eye to the other. This indicates that the signals sent from the inhibitory neurons to the pyramidal neurons help to control the response of pyramidal neurons to both normal vision and visual deprivation.

After the researchers determined how the neurons would react to changes in visual stimulation, they developed a network model to understand how connectivity between neurons—and the plasticity of these connections—would explain the responses of the pyramidal neurons and the inhibitory interneurons. The model, developed in collaboration with Tomoki Fukai and team also at BSI, demonstrates how individual components of a neuronal cell circuit contribute to plasticity within the brain.

“We will now pursue the detailed mechanisms of this plasticity to determine sites for therapeutic interventions,” says Hensch. Understanding how this cell type determines early brain plasticity offers the potential for cell-specific strategies to restore or reactivate proper brain function in several neurological disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.

The corresponding author for this highlight is based at the Laboratory for Neuronal Circuit Development, RIKEN Brain Science Institute

Saeko Okada | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.rikenresearch.riken.jp/eng/research/6163
http://www.researchsea.com

Further reports about: BSI Brain RIKEN Switching pyramidal neurons visual cortex visual deprivation

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht 'Y' a protein unicorn might matter in glaucoma
23.10.2017 | Georgia Institute of Technology

nachricht Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry
23.10.2017 | Rice University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Salmonella as a tumour medication

HZI researchers developed a bacterial strain that can be used in cancer therapy

Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry

23.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Gamma rays will reach beyond the limits of light

23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The end of pneumonia? New vaccine offers hope

23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>