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Science. 1996 Apr 26;272(5261):554-7.

Ocular dominance plasticity under metabotropic glutamate receptor blockade.

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  • 1Neuroscience Graduate Program, W. M. Keck Foundation Center for Integrative Neuroscience, Department of Physiology, University of California, San Francisco, 94143-0444, USA.


Occluding vision through one eye during a critical period in early life nearly abolishes responses to that eye in visual cortex. This phenomenon is mimicked by long-term depression of synaptic transmission in vitro, which may require metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) and is age-dependent. Peaks in mGluR expression and glutamate-stimulated phosphoinositide turnover during visual cortical development have been proposed as biochemical bases for the critical period. Pharmacological blockade of mGluRs specifically prevented synapse weakening in mouse visual cortical slices but did not alter kitten ocular dominance plasticity in vivo. Thus, a heightened mGluR response does not account for the critical period in development.

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