Rapid remodeling of axonal arbors in the visual cortex

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Science  18 Jun 1993:
Vol. 260, Issue 5115, pp. 1819-1821
DOI: 10.1126/science.8511592


If vision in one eye is blurred or occluded during a critical period in postnatal development, neurons in the visual cortex lose their responses to stimulation through that eye within a few days. Anatomical changes in the nerve terminals that provide input to the visual cortex have previously been observed only after weeks of deprivation, suggesting that synapses become physiologically ineffective before the branches on which they sit are withdrawn. Reconstruction of single geniculocortical axonal arbors in the cat after either brief or prolonged monocular occlusion revealed striking axonal rearrangements in both instances. Rapid withdrawal of the branches of deprived-eye arbors suggests that axonal branches bearing synapses respond quickly to changing patterns of neuronal activity.

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