Effects of sensory learning on intracortical synaptic transmission in the barrel cortex of mice
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Pairing tactile stimulation of a row of whiskers with a tail shock results in an expansion of the functional representation of the stimulated whiskers within the primary somatosensory cortex of mice. Using the same paradigm, the present study examined field potentials evoked in ex vivo slices of the barrel cortex. The amplitude of responses, evoked by single and repetitive stimuli in layer IV?layer II/III pathway contained within the barrel column corresponding to the whisker stimulated during training, was unchanged. In contrast, in a transcolumnar pathway from the 'trained' barrel to layer II/III of the neighboring, 'untrained' column, the amplitude of responses was reduced and responses to trains of stimuli applied at 40 Hz, but not at lower frequencies, depressed faster. These data are suggestive of a selective weakening of excitatory transmission and/or enhancement of inhibitory transmission in transcolumnar pathways, which accompany associative learning-induced cortical plasticity.
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Grzegorz Hess, Institute of Zoology, Jagiellonian University, 6 Ingardena St., 30-060 Krakow, Poland