About this Research Topic
In the past few decades, emerging evidence has shown that experience modulates the organization and function of cortical circuits throughout life, by shaping the connectivity of local microcircuits and modifying the structural and physiological properties of synapses. Experience-dependent plasticity is fundamental for the brain to adapt to changes in environmental stimuli and has been intensely studied in the primary sensory cortex. While different sensory modalities share some basic principles of cortical circuit refinement including the existence of developmental critical periods, many questions remain unanswered. For example, what are the similarities and differences of the mechanisms for experience-dependent synaptic changes between development and adulthood? What are the mechanisms governing rapid task-dependent plasticity and how do they differ from the mechanisms that support the maintenance of changes over longer timescale? Does the plasticity at different types of synapses interact with each other when occurring at the same time? How do glial cells contribute to experience-dependent plasticity? More importantly, how do abnormalities in experience-dependent plasticity give rise to sensory-cognitive disorders?
Recently, newly advanced techniques such as optogenetics, calcium imaging, multi-channel recording, and single-cell sequencing have been applied to investigate experience-dependent changes at the molecular, cellular and circuit level. The goal of this Research Topic is to present the latest findings in this field. We welcome original articles and reviews reporting on the role of experience in excitatory and inhibitory synaptic plasticity in developing and mature sensory cortices. Every level of analysis and perspective is welcome, including molecular/cellular and synaptic/system work.
Keywords: experience, plasticity, excitatory, inhibitory, cortical circuits
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