Vision loss shifts the balance of feedforward and intracortical circuits in opposite directions in mouse primary auditory and visual cortices

Emily Petrus, Gabriela Rodriguez, Ryan Patterson, Blaine Connor, Patrick O. Kanold, Hey Kyoung Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Loss of a sensory modality leads to widespread changes in synaptic function across sensory cortices, which are thought to be the basis for cross-modal adaptation. Previous studies suggest that experience-dependent cross-modal regulation of the spared sensory cortices may be mediated by changes in cortical circuits. Here, we report that loss of vision, in the form of dark exposure (DE) for 1 week, produces laminar-specific changes in excitatory and inhibitory circuits in the primary auditory cortex (A1) of adult mice to promote feedforward (FF) processing and also strengthens intracortical inputs to primary visual cortex (V1). Specifically, DE potentiated FF excitatory synapses from layer 4 (L4) to L2/3 in A1 and recurrent excitatory inputs in A1–L4 in parallel with a reduction in the strength of lateral intracortical excitatory inputs to A1–L2/3. This suggests a shift in processing in favor of FF information at the expense of intracortical processing. Vision loss also strengthened inhibitory synaptic function in L4 and L2/3 of A1, but via laminar specific mechanisms. In A1–L4, DE specifically potentiated the evoked synaptic transmission from parvalbumin-positive inhibitory interneurons to principal neurons without changes in spontaneous miniature IPSCs (mIPSCs). In contrast, DE specifically increased the frequency of mIPSCs in A1–L2/3. In V1, FF excitatory inputs were unaltered by DE, whereas lateral intracortical connections in L2/3 were strengthened, suggesting a shift toward intracortical processing. Our results suggest that loss of vision produces distinct circuit changes in the spared and deprived sensory cortices to shift between FF and intracortical processing to allow adaptation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8790-8801
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number23
StatePublished - 2015


  • Circuit plasticity
  • Cortical plasticity
  • Cross-modal plasticity
  • Excitatory synaptic transmission
  • Inhibitory synaptic transmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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