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Neuroreport. 1994 Oct 27;5(16):2041-4.

Antibodies to nerve growth factor (NGF) prolong the sensitive period for monocular deprivation in the rat.

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Istituto di Neurofisiologia del CNR, Pisa, Italy.


Neural plasticity in the visual cortex, as tested by changes in its functional organization induced by monocular deprivation (MD), is present only during a restricted period of postnatal development (critical period). To investigate whether this process of synapse strengthening depends upon NGF, we antagonized endogenous NGF during the critical period by implanting anti-NGF producing cells. Anti-NGF treated and control rats were monocularly deprived after the end of the critical period. In anti-NGF treated but not in control rats MD was still effective. We conclude that antagonism of endogenous NGF prolongs the critical period, possibly by delaying the process of synapse consolidation in the visual cortex.

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