Leibniz MMS Days 2023 - Abstract
Studying the effects of chronic stress on neuronal networks may open up novel network-centered interventions fostering resilience. Particularly sensory circuits provide the basic prerequisite for efficient sensory discrimination, which is discussed to represent a resilience mechanism. Here, we ask, whether chronic stress exposure can lead to a distinct shift in cortical microcircuit activity and connectivity patterns. We subjected male mice to a chronic social defeat (CSD) paradigm to mimic severe stress exposure. Experimental animals were classified as rather stress resilient or non-resilient. We employed two-photon calcium imaging in awake mice. We found, that resilient microcircuits surpass both non-resilient and non-stressed controls in the accuracy of the representation of visual afferents. These findings suggest, that stress resilient animals transition to an adaptive neuronal network state. We could conceptualize stress resilience as the ability to undergo plastic changes of cortical sensory circuits.