March 3, 2021

Interneuron activity-structural plasticity association is driven by context-dependent sensory experience

Neuronal dendritic spine dynamics provide a plasticity mechanism for altering brain circuit connectivity to integrate new information for learning and memory. Previous in vivo studies in the olfactory bulb (OB) showed that regional increases in activity caused localized spine stability, at a population level, yet how activity affects spine dynamics at an individual neuron level remains unknown. In this study, we tracked in vivo the correlation between an individual neuron’s activity and its dendritic spine dynamics of OB granule cell (GC) interneurons. Odor experience caused a consistent correlation between individual GC activity and spine stability. Dissecting the components of the OB circuit showed that increased principal cell (MC) activity was sufficient to drive this correlation, whereas cell-autonomously driven GC activity had no effect. A mathematical model was able to replicate the GC activity-spine stability correlation and showed MC output having improved odor discriminability while retaining odor memory. These results reveal that GC spine plasticity provides a sufficient network mechanism to decorrelate odors and maintain a memory trace.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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