Rate of synaptic replacement in denervated rat hippocampus declines precipitously from the juvenile period to adulthood

Science  05 Aug 1983:
Vol. 221, Issue 4610, pp. 572-574
DOI: 10.1126/science.6867730


Synaptic contacts per unit area in the rat dentate gyrus reach adult numbers by the end of the first month after birth and remain constant thereafter. This experiment demonstrated that the rate at which synapses were replaced by sprouting after a lesion declined dramatically from 35 to 90 days of age. Thus, the juvenile period of the rat's life is marked by a considerable change in neuronal plasticity. This may be related to age-dependent effects in recovery from brain damage.