Experience-Dependent, Layer-Specific Development of Divergent Thalamocortical Connectivity

Alex Crocker-Buque, Sarah M. Brown, Peter C. Kind, John T.R. Isaac, Michael I. Daw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The main input to primary sensory cortex is via thalamocortical (TC) axons that form the greatest number of synapses in layer 4, but also synapse onto neurons in layer 6. The development of the TC input to layer 4 has been widely studied, but less is known about the development of the layer 6 input. Here, we show that, in neonates, the input to layer 6 is as strong as that to layer 4. Throughout the first postnatal week, there is an experience-dependent strengthening specific to layer 4, which correlates with the ability of synapses in layer 4, but not in layer 6, to undergo long-term potentiation (LTP). This strengthening consists of an increase in axon branching and the divergence of connectivity in layer 4 without a change in the strength of individual connections. We propose that experience-driven LTP stabilizes transient TC synapses in layer 4 to increase strength and divergence specifically in layer 4 over layer 6.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2255–2266
Number of pages12
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number8
Early online date7 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2015


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