Structural plasticity within the barrel cortex during initial phases of whisker-dependent learning

Sandra J. Kuhlman, Daniel H. O'Connor, Kevin Fox, Karel Svoboda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We report learning-related structural plasticity in layer 1 branches of pyramidal neurons in the barrel cortex, a known site of sensorimotor integration. In mice learning an active, whisker-dependent object localization task, layer 2/3 neurons showed enhanced spine growth during initial skill acquisition that both preceded and predicted expert performance. Preexisting spines were stabilized and new persistent spines were formed. These findings suggest rapid changes in connectivity between motor centers and sensory cortex guide subsequent sensorimotor learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6078-6083
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume34
Issue number17
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Barrel cortex
  • Object localization
  • Perceptual learning
  • Plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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