The role of early visual experience in the development of spatial-frequency preference in the primary visual cortex

Nana Nishio, Kenji Hayashi, Ayako Wendy Ishikawa, Yumiko Yoshimura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Key points: The mature functioning of the primary visual cortex depends on postnatal visual experience, while the orientation/direction preference is established just after eye-opening, independently of visual experience. In this study, we find that visual experience is required for the normal development of spatial-frequency (SF) preference in mouse primary visual cortex. We show that age- and experience-dependent shifts in optimal SFs towards higher frequencies occurred similarly in excitatory neurons and parvalbumin-positive interneurons. We also show that some excitatory and parvalbumin-positive neurons preferentially responded to visual stimuli consisting of very high SFs and posterior directions, and that the preference was established at earlier developmental stages than the SF preference in the standard frequency range. These results suggest that early visual experience is required for the development of SF representation and shed light on the experience-dependent developmental mechanisms underlying visual cortical functions. Abstract: Early visual experience is crucial for the maturation of visual cortical functions. It has been demonstrated that the orientation and direction preferences in individual neurons of the primary visual cortex are well established immediately after eye-opening. The postnatal development of spatial frequency (SF) tuning and its dependence on visual experience, however, has not been thoroughly quantified. In this study, macroscopic imaging with flavoprotein autofluorescence revealed that the optimal SFs shift towards higher frequency values during normal development in mouse primary visual cortex. This developmental shift was impaired by binocular deprivation during the sensitive period, postnatal 3 weeks (PW3) to PW6. Furthermore, two-photon Ca2+ imaging revealed that the developmental shift of the optimal SFs, depending on visual experience, concurrently occurs in excitatory neurons and parvalbumin-positive inhibitory interneurons (PV neurons). In addition, some excitatory and PV neurons exhibited a preference for visual stimuli consisting of particularly high SFs and posterior directions at relatively early developmental stages; this preference was not affected by binocular deprivation. Thus, there may be two distinct developmental mechanisms for the establishment of SF preference depending on the frequency values. After PW3, SF tuning for neurons tuned to standard frequency ranges was sharper in excitatory neurons and slightly broader in PV neurons, leading to considerably attenuated SF tuning in PV neurons compared to excitatory neurons by PW5. Our findings suggest that early visual experience is far more important than orientation/direction selectivity for the development of the neural representation of the diverse SFs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4131-4152
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Physiology
Volume599
Issue number17
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Sep 1
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • experience-dependent development
  • primary visual cortex
  • spatial frequency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology

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