Higher order feedback projections to sensory cortical areas converge on layer 1 (L1), the primary site for integration of top-down information via the apical dendrites of pyramidal neurons and L1 GABAergic interneurons. Here, we investigated the contribution of early thalamic inputs onto L1 interneurons for the establishment of top-down inputs in the primary visual cortex. We find that bottom-up thalamic inputs predominate during early L1 development and preferentially target neurogliaform cells. We find that these projections are critical for the subsequent strengthening of feedback inputs from the anterior cingulate cortex. Enucleation or selective removal of thalamic afferents blocked this phenomenon. Notably, while early activation of anterior cingulate afferents resulted in a premature strengthening of these top-down inputs to neurogliaform cells, this was also dependent on thalamic inputs. Our results demonstrate that the proper establishment of top-down feedback inputs critically depends on bottom-up inputs from the thalamus during early postnatal development.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience