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J Neurosci. 1985 Feb;5(2):532-5.

Activity-dependent shrinkage of extracellular space in rat optic nerve: a developmental study.


Activity-dependent shrinkage of extracellular space (ECS) is described in a simple model of the mammalian central nervous system, the rat optic nerve. In response to neural activation, the ECS of the mature nerve rapidly and reversibly decreases by as much as 20%. Activity-dependent ECS shrinkage is not present in neonatal nerves but develops over the first 2 weeks of life, roughly coincident with the appearance of glial cells in this structure. These and other observations suggest that activity-dependent ECS shrinkage results from fluid and electrolyte movements into glial cells.

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