Developmental inhibitory gate controls the relay of activity to the superficial layers of the visual cortex

Carlos Rozas, Hosea Frank, Arnold J. Heynen, Bernardo Morales, Mark F. Bear, Alfredo Kirkwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


A developmental reduction in the radial transmission of synaptic activity has been proposed to underlie the end of the critical period for experience-dependent modification in layers II/III of the visual cortex. Using paired-pulse stimulation, we investigated in visual cortical slices how the propagation of synaptic activity to the superficial layers changes during development and how this process is affected by sensory experience. The results can be summarized as follows. (1) Layers II/III responses to repetitive stimulation of the white matter become increasingly depressed between the third and sixth week of postnatal development, a time course that parallels the end of the critical period. (2) Paired-pulse depression is reduced after dark rearing and also by blocking inhibitory synaptic transmission. (3) Paired-pulse depression and its regulation by age and sensory experience is more pronounced when stimulation is applied to the white matter than when applied to layer IV. Together, these results are consistent with the idea that the maturation of intracortical inhibition reduces the capability of the cortex to relay incoming high-frequency patterns of activity to the supragranular layers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6791-6801
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 1 2001


  • Critical period
  • GABA
  • Layer IV
  • Neocortex
  • Paired-pulse depression
  • Plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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