Columnar Architecture Sculpted by GABA Circuits in Developing Cat Visual Cortex

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Science  12 Mar 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5664, pp. 1678-1681
DOI: 10.1126/science.1091031

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The mammalian visual cortex is organized into columns. Here, we examine cortical influences upon developing visual afferents in the cat by altering intrinsic γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)–mediated inhibition with benzodiazepines. Local enhancement by agonist (diazepam) infusion did not perturb visual responsiveness, but did widen column spacing. An inverse agonist (DMCM) produced the opposite effect. Thus, intracortical inhibitory circuits shape the geometry of incoming thalamic arbors, suggesting that cortical columnar architecture depends on neuronal activity.

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