Immediate early genes in plasticity of cortical columns
Sensory deprivation brings about rewiring of sensory cortices. Inactive inputs loose their ability to drive cortical neurons, and active inputs establish new synapses. In the vibrissae-tobarrels pathway sensory deprivation can be easily accomplished by plucking out the whiskers. Having deprived mice of all but one row of vibrissae, after 7 days we found increase in functional representation of the spared input in layer IV using [14C]-2-deoxyglucose autoradiography, Arc fluorescent in situ hybridization, c-Fos and Zif268 immunohistochemistry. We monitored the development of remapping in all layers of barrel columns, examining the brains after 7 and 28 days of deprivation by means of [14C]-2-deoxyglucose mapping and c-Fos immunohistochemistry. With both methods the greatest expansion of the spared input representation after longer deprivation was observed in cortical layer IV in comparison with other layers. We suggest that the characteristic strong involvement of layer IV is due to depriving this layer of a considerable part of its normal input (information coming via thalamocortical fibers) and compensatory rewiring by active inputs from other layers.
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