Activation of Somatostatin Interneurons by Nicotinic Modulator Lypd6 Enhances Plasticity and Functional Recovery in the Adult Mouse Visual Cortex
The limitation of plasticity in the adult brain impedes functional recovery later in life from brain injury or disease. This pressing clinical issue may be resolved by enhancing plasticity in the adult brain. One strategy for triggering robust plasticity in adulthood is to reproduce one of the hallmark physiological events of experience-dependent plasticity observed during the juvenile critical period: to rapidly reduce the activity of parvalbumin (PV)-expressing interneurons and disinhibit local excitatory neurons. This may be achieved through the enhancement of local inhibitory inputs, particularly those of somatostatin (SST)-expressing interneurons. However, to date the means for manipulating SST interneurons for enhancing cortical plasticity in the adult brain are not known. We show that SST interneuron-selective overexpression of Lypd6, an endogenous nicotinic signaling modulator, enhances ocular dominance plasticity in the adult primary visual cortex (V1). Lypd6 overexpression mediates a rapid experience-dependent increase in the visually evoked activity of SST interneurons as well as a simultaneous reduction in PV interneuron activity and disinhibition of excitatory neurons. Recapitulating this transient activation of SST interneurons using chemogenetics similarly enhanced V1 plasticity. Notably, we show that SST-selective Lypd6 overexpression restores visual acuity in amblyopic mice that underwent early long-term monocular deprivation. Our data in both male and female mice reveal selective modulation of SST interneurons and a putative downstream circuit mechanism as an effective method for enhancing experience-dependent cortical plasticity as well as functional recovery in adulthood.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT The decline of cortical plasticity after closure of juvenile critical period consolidates neural circuits and behavior, but this limits functional recovery from brain diseases and dysfunctions in later life. Here we show that activation of cortical somatostatin (SST) interneurons by Lypd6, an endogenous modulator of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, enhances experience-dependent plasticity and recovery from amblyopia in adulthood. This manipulation triggers rapid reduction of PV interneuron activity and disinhibition of excitatory neurons, which are known hallmarks of cortical plasticity during juvenile critical periods. Our study demonstrates modulation of SST interneurons by Lypd6 to achieve robust levels of cortical plasticity in the adult brain and may provide promising targets for restoring brain function in the event of brain trauma or disease.