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Whisker-related axonal patterns and plasticity of layer 2/3 neurons in the mouse barrel cortex.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Neuroscience
0270-6474
Publisher
Society for Neuroscience
Publication Date
Volume
30
Issue
8
Pages
3082–3092
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.6096-09.2010
PMID: 20181605
Source
Medline

Abstract

Elucidating neuronal circuits and their plasticity in the cerebral cortex is one of the important questions in neuroscience research. Here we report novel axonal trajectories and their plasticity in the mouse somatosensory barrel cortex. We selectively visualized layer 2/3 neurons using in utero electroporation and examined the axonal trajectories of layer 2/3 neurons. We found that the axons of layer 2/3 neurons preferentially run in the septal regions of layer 4 and named this axonal pattern "barrel nets." The intensity of green fluorescent protein in the septal regions was markedly higher compared with that in barrel hollows. Focal in utero electroporation revealed that the axons in barrel nets were indeed derived from layer 2/3 neurons in the barrel cortex. During development, barrel nets became visible at postnatal day 10, which was well after the initial appearance of barrels. When whisker follicles were cauterized within 3 d after birth, the whisker-related pattern of barrel nets was altered, suggesting that cauterization of whisker follicles results in developmental plasticity of barrel nets. Our results uncover the novel axonal trajectories of layer 2/3 neurons with whisker-related patterns and their developmental plasticity in the mouse somatosensory cortex. Barrel nets should be useful for investigating the pattern formation and axonal reorganization of intracortical neuronal circuits.

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