In primates, the functional connectivity of adult primary visual cortex is susceptible to be modified by sensory training during perceptual learning. It is widely held that this type of neural plasticity might involve mechanisms like long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD). NMDAR-dependent forms of LTP and LTD are particularly attractive because in rodents they can be induced in a Hebbian manner by near coincidental presynaptic and postsynaptic firing, in a paradigm termed spike timing-dependent plasticity (STDP). These fundamental properties of LTP and LTD, Hebbian induction and NMDAR dependence, have not been examined in primate cortex. Here we demonstrate these properties in the primary visual cortex of the rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta), and also show that, like in rodents, STDP is gated by neuromodulators. These findings indicate that the cellular principles governing cortical plasticity are conserved across mammalian species, further validating the use of rodents as a model system.
ASJC Scopus subject areas