Substrates of Rapid Plasticity in Developing Visual Cortex
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The loss of visual responses by neurons in the primary visual cortex to an eye in which vision is occluded at the peak of the critical period is very rapid, appearing from extra-cellular microelectrode recordings to be nearly maximal after 2 days of monocular deprivation (MD). Anatomically, the first changes in thalamocortical afferent inputs to layer IV appear after 4 days of MD in the cat, and 6–7 days of MD are needed for near maximal losses of deprived-eye input. When we examined the different cortical layers, rapid plasticity was present in all except layer IV, removing the apparent mismatch between anatomical and physiological measures of plasticity in that layer.