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Neuroreport. 2006 Sep 18;17(13):1459-63.

Blockade of postsynaptic activity in sleep inhibits developmental plasticity in visual cortex.

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Department of Neuroscience, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.


Ocular dominance plasticity is enhanced by sleep and reduced by sleep deprivation or when all neural activity in the sleeping visual cortex is reversibly inhibited. These latter findings demonstrate that the mechanisms responsible for the effects of sleep on cortical plasticity are activity dependent. To better isolate this activity dependent mechanism, we investigated the role of postsynaptic activity by inactivating the sleeping visual cortex after a period of monocular deprivation with the gamma-amino-n-butyric acid agonist muscimol. Microelectrode recordings showed that ocular dominance plasticity was significantly reduced in cortices reversibly silenced during sleep compared with cortices infused with vehicle only. These findings demonstrate that postsynaptic activity during sleep is required for the consolidation of experience-dependent cortical plasticity.

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