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Neuron. 2006 Apr 6;50(1):115-25.

Spike timing-dependent LTP/LTD mediates visual experience-dependent plasticity in a developing retinotectal system.

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Division of Neurobiology, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.


Sensory experience plays an instructive role in the development of the nervous system. Here we showed that visual experience can induce persistent modification of developing retinotectal circuits via spike timing-dependent plasticity (STDP). Pairing light stimuli with spiking of the tectal cell induced persistent enhancement or reduction of light-evoked responses, with a dependence on the relative timing between light stimulus and postsynaptic spiking similar to that for STDP. Using precisely timed sequential three-bar stimulation to mimic a moving bar, we showed that spike timing-dependent LTP/LTD can account for the asymmetric modification of the tectal cell receptive field induced by moving bar. Furthermore, selective inhibition of signaling mediated by brain-derived neurotrophic factor and nitric oxide, which are respectively required for light-induced LTP and LTD, interfered with moving bar-induced temporally specific changes in the tectal cell responses. Together, these findings suggest that STDP can mediate sensory experience-dependent circuit refinement in the developing nervous system.

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