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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Sep 13;108(37):15450-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1016458108. Epub 2011 Aug 24.

Global impairment and therapeutic restoration of visual plasticity mechanisms after a localized cortical stroke.

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Institut für Allgemeine Zoologie und Tierphysiologie, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, D-07743 Jena, Germany.


We tested the influence of a photothrombotic lesion in somatosensory cortex on plasticity in the mouse visual system and the efficacy of anti-inflammatory treatment to rescue compromised learning. To challenge plasticity mechanisms, we induced monocular deprivation (MD) in 3-mo-old mice. In control animals, MD induced an increase of visual acuity of the open eye and an ocular dominance (OD) shift towards this eye. In contrast, after photothrombosis, there was neither an enhancement of visual acuity nor an OD-shift. However, OD-plasticity was present in the hemisphere contralateral to the lesion. Anti-inflammatory treatment restored sensory learning but not OD-plasticity, as did a 2-wk delay between photothrombosis and MD. We conclude that (i) both sensory learning and cortical plasticity are compromised in the surround of a cortical lesion; (ii) transient inflammation is responsible for impaired sensory learning, suggesting anti-inflammatory treatment as a useful adjuvant therapy to support rehabilitation following stroke; and (iii) OD-plasticity cannot be conceptualized solely as a local process because nonlocal influences are more important than previously assumed.

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