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Reversal and Stabilization of Synaptic Modifications in a Developing Visual System

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Science  20 Jun 2003:
Vol. 300, Issue 5627, pp. 1953-1957
DOI: 10.1126/science.1082212

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Abstract

Persistent synaptic modifications are essential for experience-dependent refinement of developing circuits. However, in the developing Xenopus retinotectal system, activity-induced synaptic modifications were quickly reversed either by subsequent spontaneous activity in the tectum or by exposure to random visual inputs. This reversal depended on the burst spiking and activation of the N-methyl-D-aspartate subtype of glutamate receptors. Stabilization of synaptic modifications can be achieved by an appropriately spaced pattern of induction stimuli. These findings underscore the vulnerable nature of activity-induced synaptic modifications in vivo and suggest a temporal constraint on the pattern of visual inputs for effective induction of stable synaptic modifications.

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