Short-Term Visual Experience Leads to Potentiation of Spontaneous Activity in Mouse Superior Colliculus

Qingpeng Yu 1 • Hang Fu 1 • Gang Wang 2 • Jiayi Zhang 1 • Biao Yan 1

1 Institutes of Brain Science, State Key Laboratory of Medical Neurobiology and Ministry of Education Frontiers Center for Brain Science, Department of Ophthalmology, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China 

2 Center of Brain Sciences, Beijing Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, No. 27, Taiping Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100850, China


Spontaneous activity in the brain maintains an internal structured pattern that reflects the external environment, which is essential for processing information and developing perception and cognition. An essential prerequisite of spontaneous activity for perception is the ability to reverberate external information, such as by potentiation. Yet its role in the processing of potentiation in mouse superior colliculus (SC) neurons is less studied. Here, we used electrophysiological recording, optogenetics, and drug infusion methods to investigate the mechanism of potentiation in SC neurons. We found that visual experience potentiated SC neurons several minutes later in different developmental stages, and the similarity between spontaneous and visually-evoked activity increased with age. Before eye-opening, activation of retinal ganglion cells that expressed ChR2 also induced the potentiation of spontaneous activity in the mouse SC. Potentiation was dependent on stimulus number and showed feature selectivity for direction and orientation. Optogenetic activation of parvalbumin neurons in the SC attenuated the potentiation induced by visual experience. Furthermore, potentiation in SC neurons was blocked by inhibiting the glutamate transporter GLT1. These results indicated that the potentiation induced by a visual stimulus might play a key role in shaping the internal representation of the environment, and serves as a carrier for short-term memory consolidation.


Spontaneous activity; Visual experience; Potentiation ; Superior colliculus ; Feature selectivity ;Glutamate homeostasis


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