4 years ago

Cortically coordinated NREM thalamocortical oscillations play an essential, instructive role in visual system plasticity [Neuroscience]

Cortically coordinated NREM thalamocortical oscillations play an essential, instructive role in visual system plasticity [Neuroscience]
Sara J. Aton, Jiaxing Wu, Christopher Broussard, Julie Colbath, Aneesha K. Suresh, Michal Zochowski, Jaclyn Durkin

Two long-standing questions in neuroscience are how sleep promotes brain plasticity and why some forms of plasticity occur preferentially during sleep vs. wake. Establishing causal relationships between specific features of sleep (e.g., network oscillations) and sleep-dependent plasticity has been difficult. Here we demonstrate that presentation of a novel visual stimulus (a single oriented grating) causes immediate, instructive changes in the firing of mouse lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) neurons, leading to increased firing-rate responses to the presented stimulus orientation (relative to other orientations). However, stimulus presentation alone does not affect primary visual cortex (V1) neurons, which show response changes only after a period of subsequent sleep. During poststimulus nonrapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, LGN neuron overall spike-field coherence (SFC) with V1 delta (0.5–4 Hz) and spindle (7–15 Hz) oscillations increased, with neurons most responsive to the presented stimulus showing greater SFC. To test whether coherent communication between LGN and V1 was essential for cortical plasticity, we first tested the role of layer 6 corticothalamic (CT) V1 neurons in coherent firing within the LGN-V1 network. We found that rhythmic optogenetic activation of CT V1 neurons dramatically induced coherent firing in LGN neurons and, to a lesser extent, in V1 neurons in the other cortical layers. Optogenetic interference with CT feedback to LGN during poststimulus NREM sleep (but not REM or wake) disrupts coherence between LGN and V1 and also blocks sleep-dependent response changes in V1. We conclude that NREM oscillations relay information regarding prior sensory experience between the thalamus and cortex to promote cortical plasticity.

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