Activity of neurons in primary visual cortex is shaped by sensory and behavioral context. However, the long-term stability of the influence of contextual factors in the mature cortex remains poorly understood. To investigate this, we used two-photon calcium imaging to track the influence of surround suppression and locomotion on individual neurons over 14 days. We found that highly active excitatory neurons and parvalbumin-positive (PV+) interneurons exhibited relatively stable modulation by visual context. Similarly, most neurons exhibited a stable yet distinct degree of modulation by locomotion. In contrast, less active excitatory neurons exhibited plasticity in visual context influence, resulting in increased suppression. These findings suggest that the mature visual cortex possesses stable subnetworks of neurons, differentiated by cell type and activity level, which have distinctive and stable interactions with sensory and behavioral contexts, as well as other less active and more labile neurons, which are sensitive to visual experience.
Ranson, A. (2017). Stability and Plasticity of Contextual Modulation in the Mouse Visual Cortex. Cell Reports, 18(4), 840–848. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2016.12.080