Rearrangement of synaptic connections with inhibitory neurons in developing mouse visual cortex

Akiko Yamashita, Katia Valkova, Yuri Gonchar, Andreas Burkhalter

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17 Scopus citations


Cortical inhibition is determined in part by the organization of synaptic inputs to γ-aminobutyric acidergic (GABAergic) neurons. In adult rat visual cortex, feedforward (FF) and feedback (FB) connections that link lower with higher areas provide ∼10% of inputs to parvalbumin (PV)-expressing GABAergic neurons and ∼90% to non-GABAergic cells (Gonchar and Burkhalter [1999] J. Comp. Neurol. 406:346-360). Although the proportions of these targets are similar in both pathways, FF synapses prefer larger PV dendrites than FB synapses, which may result in stronger inhibition in the FF than in the FB pathway (Gonchar and Burkhalter [1999] J. Comp. Neurol. 406:346-360). To determine when during postnatal (P) development FF and FB inputs to PV and non-PV neurons acquire mature proportions, and whether the pathway-specific distributions of FF and FB inputs to PV dendrites develop from a similar pattern, we studied FF and FB connections between area 17 and the higher order lateromedial area (LM) in visual cortex of P15-42 mice. We found that the innervation ratio of PV and non-PV neurons is mature at P15. Furthermore, the size distributions of PV dendrites contacted by FF and FB synapses were similar at P15 but changed during the third to sixth postnatal weeks so that, by P36-42, FF inputs preferred thick dendrites and FB synapses favored thin PV dendrites. These results suggest that distinct FF and FB circuits develop after eye opening by rearranging the distribution of excitatory synaptic inputs on the dendritic tree of PV neurons. The purpose of this transformation may be to adjust differentially the strengths of inhibition in FF and FB circuits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-437
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2003


  • Extrastriate visual cortex
  • Feedback connections
  • Feedforward connections
  • GABAergic neurons
  • Intracortical connections
  • Parvalbumin


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