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J Comp Neurol. 1997 Dec 29;389(4):577-83.

Developmental and sensory-dependent changes of phosphoinositide-linked metabotropic glutamate receptors.

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Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8061, USA.


Metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) can modulate synaptic transmission, and there is evidence that phosphoinositide (PI)-linked mGluRs may be involved in sensory-dependent plasticity during the development of cat visual cortex. Consequently, we asked the questions: Where are the PI-linked mGluRs (mGluR1alpha and mGluR5) in the visual cortex? Does the quantity and distribution of these receptors change in the cat visual cortex during postnatal development, and are these features sensory-dependent? We found that the quantity of mGluR1alpha decreases with age, whereas the laminar distribution of mGluR1alpha remains the same. Quantity of mGluR5 also decreases, but the laminar distribution of mGluR5 changes during development. The pattern and timing of the mGluR5 change in distribution follow the development of geniculocortical afferents. Immunostaining indicates that reduction of receptor occurs mainly in layers V-VI for mGluR1alpha and outside layer IV for mGluR5. Dark-rearing postpones the laminar change of mGluR5 and produces an increased level of mGluR5 between postnatal 1.5-6 weeks of age but has no significant effect on the mGluR1alpha distribution or the mGluR1alpha quantity. These results suggest that mGluR1alpha and mGluR5 are involved in different aspects of cortical development. The mGluR5 is more likely to be involved in sensory-dependent events than mGluR1alpha. The lack of developmental correlation between mGluR quantities and the critical period for ocular dominance plasticity also suggests that other factors besides mGluR quantities are important for ocular dominance plasticity.

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