Early Experience Effects upon Cortical Dendrites: A Proposed Model for Development

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Science  16 Jan 1970:
Vol. 167, Issue 3916, pp. 292-294
DOI: 10.1126/science.167.3916.292


We studied the effects of environmental stimulation on the development of rat cortical pyramidal cell synaptic loci (dendritic spines) and the number of such cells staining by the rapid Golgi technique. Stimulation three to five times a day from the day of birth increased the number of spines per micrometer in 8-day-old animals and increased the number of neurons stanining at 8 to 16 days of age. This effect of afferent input upon development of the dendritic spine may represent the neuroanatomical basis for the influence of early experience on subsequent behavior. The number of neurons staining by the rapid Golgi technique appears to be related to those that are functionally involved at the time of tissue preparation.

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