Developmental Plasticity of Inhibitory Receptive Field Properties in the Auditory and Visual Systems

  • Khaleel A. Razak
  • Zoltan M. Fuzessery
  • Sarah L. Pallas


The development of inhibition, particularly GABAergic signaling, has received considerable attention in the past few years. The fact that imbalances between inhibition and excitation are seen in several disease states, at least partly, underlies the push to understand how inhibition develops. Evidence for the fact that neural activity influences inhibitory synaptic strength during normal development and disease processes is accumulating. However, few studies have employed model systems in which changes in inhibitory synaptic strength can be interpreted in the context of behaviorally relevant neuronal response properties. Based on our studies of neuronal selectivity for stimulus direction and velocity in the visual and auditory systems, we present evidence for two key principles underlying the effects of sensory experience on inhibitory receptive field (RF) properties. First, experience can shape not just the strength, but also the timing of inhibitory inputs. For example, experience-dependent changes in the timing of inhibition can determine whether or not a neuron is direction selective. Second, the maintenance of response properties, and not only their refinement, can depend on inhibitory plasticity. In the following, we outline the evidence that supports the generalizability of these principles.


Receptive Field Superior Colliculus Auditory Cortex Direction Selectivity Echolocation Call 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank the members of the Pallas and Fuzessery labs for commenting on an earlier version of this chapter. Funding was provided by NIDCD DC05202 to ZMF, NIH EY12696, NSF IBN-0078110 and Georgia State University Research Foundation grants to SLP and National Organization for Hearing Research Foundation grant to KAR.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Khaleel A. Razak
    • 1
  • Zoltan M. Fuzessery
    • 2
  • Sarah L. Pallas
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Psychology & Graduate Neuroscience ProgramUniversity of CaliforniaRiversideUSA
  2. 2.Department of Zoology and PhysiologyUniversity of WyomingLaramieUSA
  3. 3.Neuroscience InstituteGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA

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