The mechanisms that govern thalamocortical transmission are poorly understood. Recent data have shown that sensory stimuli elicit activity in ensembles of cortical neurons that recapitulate stereotyped spontaneous activity patterns. Here, we elucidate a possible mechanism by which gating of patterned population cortical activity occurs. In this study, sensory-evoked allor- none cortical population responses were observed in the mouse auditory cortex in vivo and similar stochastic cortical responses were observed in a colliculo-thalamocortical brain slice preparation. Cortical responses were associated with decreases in auditory thalamic synaptic inhibition and increases in thalamic synchrony. Silencing of corticothalamic neurons in layer 6 (but not layer 5) or the thalamic reticular nucleus linearized the cortical responses, suggesting that layer 6 corticothalamic feedback via the thalamic reticular nucleus was responsible for gating stochastic cortical population responses. These data implicate a corticothalamic-thalamic reticular nucleus circuit that modifies thalamic neuronal synchronization to recruit populations of cortical neurons for sensory representations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)