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J Neurosci. 2011 Jun 1;31(22):8025-36. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5802-10.2011.

Visual experience-dependent maturation of correlated neuronal activity patterns in a developing visual system.

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Department of Physics, Division of Engineering, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02912, USA.


The functional properties of neural circuits become increasingly robust over development. This allows circuits to optimize their output in response to a variety of input. However, it is not clear whether this optimization is a function of hardwired circuit elements, or whether it requires neural experience to develop. We performed rapid in vivo imaging of calcium signals from bulk-labeled neurons in the Xenopus laevis optic tectum to resolve the rapid spatiotemporal response properties of populations of developing tectal neurons in response to visual stimuli. We found that during a critical time in tectal development, network activity becomes increasingly robust, more correlated, and more synchronous. These developmental changes require normal visual input during development and are disrupted by NMDAR blockade. Our data show that visual activity and NMDAR activation are critical for the maturation of tectal network dynamics during visual system development.

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