Experience-dependent plasticity of rat barrel cortex: Redistribution of activity across barrel-columns

Mikhail A. Lebedev, Giovanni Mirabella, Irina Erchova, Mathew E. Diamond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)


The redistribution of neuronal activity across rat barrel cortex following an alteration in whisker usage has been investigated. In adult rats, two mystacial vibrissae - D2 and one neighbor, D1 or D3 were left intact while all other vibrissae on that side of the snout were clipped. Neurons in contralateral barrel cortex were sampled with a microelectrode array 3.5 days later. Stimulation of clipped vibrissae produced a narrow spatial distribution of cortical activity, whereas stimulation of intact vibrissae produced a widened spatial distribution. Simultaneous recordings from multiple cortical barrel-columns suggest that changes in the effective connectivity between barrel-columns may partially account for this redistribution of sensory responses. Evidence is also presented for a second mechanism, a release from inhibition in sensory-deprived cortical areas. A model is therefore proposed where these two mechanisms operate together to regulate the cortical distribution of evoked activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-31
Number of pages9
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2000
Externally publishedYes


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