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J Embryol Exp Morphol. 1979 Dec;54:219-27.

Development of retinal synaptic arrays in the inner plexiform layer of dark-reared mice.


In the central area of the retina of mouse the rate of synaptogenesis in the inner plexiform layer (IPL) drops precipitously at about the time the eyes open. To determine if the visual input at eye opening provides a signal for the neurons to stop adding synapses, mice were raised in darkness during the period of maximal synaptogenesis and through eye opening. Retinal synaptic arrays of dark-reared and normally reared animals were compared quantitatively. The rate of synaptogenesis after eye opening in dark-reared mice indicated that the onset of visual stimulation was not the cue to stop synaptogenesis. However, the synaptic arrays of the IPL of dark-reared mice consistently had more conventional synapses than those of normally reared mice. It is concluded that the number of conventional synapses in the central retina was increased by dark-rearing.

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