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Neuron. 2004 Dec 16;44(6):1021-30.

Dendritic spine dynamics are regulated by monocular deprivation and extracellular matrix degradation.

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Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


The mammalian primary visual cortex (V1) is especially susceptible to changes in visual input over a well-defined critical period, during which closing one eye leads to a loss of responsiveness of neurons to the deprived eye and a shift in response toward the open eye. This functional plasticity can occur rapidly, following even a single day of eye closure, although the structural bases of these changes are unknown. Here, we show that rapid structural changes at the level of dendritic spines occur following brief monocular deprivation. These changes are evident in the supra- and infragranular layers of the binocular zone and can be mimicked by degradation of the extracellular matrix with the tPA/plasmin proteolytic cascade. Further, monocular deprivation occludes a subsequent effect of matrix degradation, suggesting that this mechanism is active in vivo to permit structural remodeling during ocular dominance plasticity.

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