Early sensory experience shapes the functional and anatomical connectivity of neuronal networks. Light deprivation alters synaptic transmission and modifies light response properties in the visual system, from retinal circuits to higher visual centers. These effects are more pronounced during a critical period in juvenile life and are mostly reversed by restoring normal light conditions. Here we show that complete light deprivation, from birth to periods beyond the critical period, permanently modifies the receptive field properties of retinal ganglion cells. Visual deprivation reduced both the strength of light responses in ganglion cells and their receptive field size. Light deprivation produced an imbalance in the ratio of inhibitory to excitatory inputs, with a shift toward larger inhibitory conductances. Ganglion cell receptive fields in visually deprived animals showed a spatial mismatch of inhibitory and excitatory inputs and inhibitory inputs were highly scattered over the receptive field. These results indicate that visual experience early in life is critical for the refinement of retinal circuits and for appropriate signaling of the spatiotemporal properties of visual stimuli, thus influencing the response properties of neurons in higher visual centers and their processing of visual information.

Permanent functional reorganization of retinal circuits induced by early long-term visual deprivation

DI MARCO, STEFANO;BISTI, SILVIA;
2009-01-01

Abstract

Early sensory experience shapes the functional and anatomical connectivity of neuronal networks. Light deprivation alters synaptic transmission and modifies light response properties in the visual system, from retinal circuits to higher visual centers. These effects are more pronounced during a critical period in juvenile life and are mostly reversed by restoring normal light conditions. Here we show that complete light deprivation, from birth to periods beyond the critical period, permanently modifies the receptive field properties of retinal ganglion cells. Visual deprivation reduced both the strength of light responses in ganglion cells and their receptive field size. Light deprivation produced an imbalance in the ratio of inhibitory to excitatory inputs, with a shift toward larger inhibitory conductances. Ganglion cell receptive fields in visually deprived animals showed a spatial mismatch of inhibitory and excitatory inputs and inhibitory inputs were highly scattered over the receptive field. These results indicate that visual experience early in life is critical for the refinement of retinal circuits and for appropriate signaling of the spatiotemporal properties of visual stimuli, thus influencing the response properties of neurons in higher visual centers and their processing of visual information.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11697/21399
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