Restoration of the plasticity of binocular maps by NMDA after the critical period in Xenopus

Science  10 Aug 1990:
Vol. 249, Issue 4969, pp. 669-672
DOI: 10.1126/science.2166343


Visual input during a critical period of development plays a major role in the establishment of orderly connections in the developing visual system. In Xenopus laevis, the matching of visual maps from the two eyes to the optic tectum depends on binocular visual input during the critical period, which extends from late tadpole to early juvenile stages. Alterations in eye position, which produce a mismatch of the tectal maps, normally evoke a compensatory adjustment in the map of the ipsilateral eye only during the critical period. However, continuous application of the glutamate receptor agonist N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) after the normal end of the critical period restores this ability to realign the visual map.