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Neuron. 2000 Dec;28(3):955-66.

Developmental remodeling of the retinogeniculate synapse.

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Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Anatomical rearrangement of retinogeniculate connections contributes to the refinement of synaptic circuits in the developing visual system, but the underlying changes in synaptic function are unclear. Here, we study such changes in mouse brain slices. Each geniculate cell receives a surprisingly large number of retinal inputs (>20) well after eye-specific zones are formed. All but one to three of these inputs are eliminated over a 3-week period spanning eye opening. Remaining inputs are strengthened approximately 50-fold, in part through an increase in quantal size, but primarily through an increase in the number of release sites. Changes in release probability do not contribute significantly. Thus, a redistribution of release sites from many inputs to few inputs at this late developmental stage contributes to the precise receptive fields of thalamic relay neurons.

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