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Cereb Cortex. 2005 Aug;15(8):1146-54. Epub 2004 Nov 24.

Loss of neurofilament labeling in the primary visual cortex of monocularly deprived monkeys.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Dalhousie University, Life Sciences Centre, Halifax, NS, Canada.


Visual experience during early life is important for the development of neural organizations that support visual function. Closing one eye (monocular deprivation) during this sensitive period can cause a reorganization of neural connections within the visual system that leaves the deprived eye functionally disconnected. We have assessed the pattern of neurofilament labeling in monocularly deprived macaque monkeys to examine the possibility that a cytoskeleton change contributes to deprivation-induced reorganization of neural connections within the primary visual cortex (V-1). Monocular deprivation for three months starting around the time of birth caused a significant loss of neurofilament labeling within deprived-eye ocular dominance columns. Three months of monocular deprivation initiated in adulthood did not produce a loss of neurofilament labeling. The evidence that neurofilament loss was found only when deprivation occurred during the sensitive period supports the notion that the loss permits restructuring of deprived-eye neural connections within the visual system. These results provide evidence that, in addition to reorganization of LGN inputs, the intrinsic circuitry of V-1 neurons is altered when monocular deprivation occurs early in development.

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