Although the core functions and structure of the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) are well understood, this core is surrounded by questions about the integration of feedforward and feedback connections, interactions between different channels of information, and how activity dependent development restructures synaptic networks. Our understanding of the organization of the mouse LGN is particularly limited given how important it has become as a model system. Advances in circuit scale electron microscopy (cellular connectomics) have made it possible to reconstruct the synaptic connectivity of hundreds of neurons within in a circuit the size of the mouse LGN. These circuit reconstructions can reveal cell type-to-cell type canonical wiring diagrams as well as the higher order wiring motifs that are only visible in reconstructions of intact networks. Connectomic analysis of the LGN therefore not only can answer longstanding questions about the organization of the visual thalamus but also presents unique opportunities for investigating fundamental properties of mammalian circuit formation.
- Electron microscopy
- Lateral geniculate nucleus