PublicationsSpontaneous Activity Patterns Are Altered in the Developing Visual Cortex of the Fmr1 Knockout Mouse
Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the most prevalent inherited cause of autism and is accompanied by behavioral and sensory deficits. Errors in the wiring of the brain during early development likely contribute to these deficits, but the underlying mechanisms are unclear. Spontaneous activity patterns, which are required for fine-tuning neuronal networks before the senses become active, are perturbed in rodent models of FXS. Here, we investigated spontaneous network activity patterns in the developing visual cortex of the Fmr1 knockout mouse using in vivo calcium imaging during the second postnatal week, before eye opening. We found that while the frequency, mean amplitude and duration of spontaneous network events were unchanged in the knockout mouse, pair-wise correlations between neurons were increased compared to wild type littermate controls. Further analysis revealed that interneuronal correlations were not generally increased, rather that low-synchronization events occurred relatively less frequently than high-synchronization events. Low-, but not high-, synchronization events have been associated with retinal inputs previously. Since we found that spontaneous retinal waves were normal in the knockout, our results suggest that peripherally driven activity is underrepresented in the Fmr1 KO visual cortex. Therefore, we propose that central gating of retinal inputs may be affected in FXS and that peripherally and centrally driven activity patterns are already unbalanced before eye opening in this disorder.