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Science 303 (5664): 1678-1681

Copyright © 2004 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Columnar Architecture Sculpted by GABA Circuits in Developing Cat Visual Cortex

Takao K. Hensch1,2*, and Michael P. Stryker2

Abstract: The mammalian visual cortex is organized into columns. Here, we examine cortical influences upon developing visual afferents in the cat by altering intrinsic {gamma}-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.

1 Laboratory for Neuronal Circuit Development, RIKEN Brain Science Institute, 2-1 Hirosawa, Wako-shi, Saitama 351-0198, Japan.
2 W. M. Keck Foundation Center for Integrative Neuroscience, Department of Physiology, University of California–San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143–0444, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: hensch{at}postman.riken

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