Abstract

While there is evidence that the visual cortex retains a potential for plasticity in adulthood, less is known about the subcortical stages of visual processing. Here we asked whether short-term ocular dominance plasticity affects the human visual thalamus. We addressed this question in normally sighted adult humans, using ultra-high field (7T) magnetic resonance imaging combined with the paradigm of short-term monocular deprivation. With this approach, we previously demonstrated transient shifts of perceptual eye dominance and ocular dominance in visual cortex (Binda et al., 2018). Here we report evidence for short-term plasticity in the ventral division of the pulvinar (vPulv), where the deprived eye representation was enhanced over the non-deprived eye. This ventral-pulvinar plasticity was similar as previously seen in visual cortex and it was correlated with the ocular dominance shift measured behaviorally. In contrast, there was no effect of monocular deprivation in two adjacent thalamic regions: dorsal pulvinar (dPulv), and Lateral Geniculate Nucleus (LGN). We conclude that the visual thalamus retains potential for short-term plasticity in adulthood; the plasticity effect differs across thalamic subregions, possibly reflecting differences in their cortico-fugal connectivity.

Data availability

The data analysed for this study are available online at the following doi: 10.5281/zenodo.5563962

The following data sets were generated

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Jan W Kurzawski

    IRCCS Stella Maris, Pisa, Italy
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-2781-1236
  2. Claudia Lunghi

    Department of Translational Research and New Technologies in Medicine and Surgery, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-3811-5404
  3. Laura Biagi

    IRCCS Stella Maris, Pisa, Italy
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-2159-439X
  4. Michela Tosetti

    IRCCS Stella Maris, Pisa, Italy
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-2515-7560
  5. Maria Concetta Morrone

    Department of Translational Research and New Technologies in Medicine and Surgery, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-1025-0316
  6. Paola Binda

    Department of Translational Research on New Technologies in Medicine and Surgery, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
    For correspondence
    paola1binda@gmail.com
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-7200-353X

Funding

H2020 European Research Council (PUPILTRAITS)

  • Paola Binda

H2020 European Research Council (GENPERCEPT)

  • Maria Concetta Morrone

Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca (PRIN2017-MISMATCH)

  • Paola Binda

Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca (FARE2-SMILY)

  • Paola Binda

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Tatiana Pasternak, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, United States

Ethics

Human subjects: Experimental procedures are in line with the declaration of Helsinki and were approved by the regional ethics committee [Comitato Etico Pediatrico Regionale-Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Meyer-Firenze (FI)] and by the Italian Ministry of Health, under the protocol 'Plasticità e multimodalità delle prime aree visive: studio in risonanza magnetica a campo ultra alto (7T)' version #1 dated 11/11/2015. Written informed consent was obtained from each participant, which included consent to process and preserve the data and publish them in anonymous form.

Version history

  1. Received: October 13, 2021
  2. Preprint posted: October 15, 2021 (view preprint)
  3. Accepted: April 5, 2022
  4. Accepted Manuscript published: April 6, 2022 (version 1)
  5. Version of Record published: April 20, 2022 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2022, Kurzawski et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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  1. Jan W Kurzawski
  2. Claudia Lunghi
  3. Laura Biagi
  4. Michela Tosetti
  5. Maria Concetta Morrone
  6. Paola Binda
(2022)
Short-term plasticity in the human visual thalamus
eLife 11:e74565.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.74565

Share this article

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.74565

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