Monocular deprivation effects in the rat visual cortex and lateral geniculate nucleus are prevented by nerve growth factor (NGF): I - Visual cortex

N. Berardi, L. Domenici, V. Parisi, T. Pizzorusso, A. Cellerino, L. Maffei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The effects of monocular deprivation done during the critical period are usually ascribed to competition between the two sets of monocular thalamic afferents taking place at cortical level. We have suggested that loss in competition for the deprived eye is explained by the lack of a neurotrophic factor, produced in the cortex and dependent on electrical activity. To test this hypothesis we have exogenously supplied nerve growth factor (NGF) to rats monocularly deprived (MD) during the critical period, and studied whether monocular deprivation still affected the functional and anatomical organization of the visual cortex. NGF is produced in the rat visual cortex during the critical period, and its expression, at least in the hippocampus, seems to be regulated by electrical activity. Ocular dominance distribution of area 17 neurons, visual acuity, and Parvalbumin immunoreactivity (Parva-LI) were determined in four sets of animals: normal rats, control untreated monocularly deprived rats, deprived rats treated with cytochrome c (to control for non-specific aspects of NGF treatment), and deprived rats treated with NGF. Parva-LI is an excellent marker for the effects of monocular deprivation on the functional organization of the rat visual cortex. We found that exogenous supply of NGF completely prevented the shift in ocular dominance distribution of visual cortical neurons, the loss of visual acuity for the deprived eye, and the strong reduction in Parva-LI induced by monocular deprivation in control rats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-23
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume251
Issue number1330
Publication statusPublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)

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