Critical periods during sensory development

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2000 Feb;10(1):138-45. doi: 10.1016/s0959-4388(99)00047-1.


Recent studies have made progress in characterizing the determinants of critical periods for experience-dependent plasticity. They highlight the role of neurotrophins, NMDA receptors and GABAergic inhibition. In particular, genetic manipulation of a single molecule, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), has been shown to alter the timing of the critical period of plasticity in mouse visual cortex, establishing a causal relation between neurotrophin action, the development of visual function, and the duration of the critical period.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Auditory Cortex / cytology
  • Auditory Cortex / growth & development*
  • Auditory Cortex / metabolism
  • Environment
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Nerve Growth Factors / metabolism
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Neurons, Afferent / cytology
  • Neurons, Afferent / metabolism
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / metabolism
  • Time Factors
  • Visual Cortex / cytology
  • Visual Cortex / growth & development*
  • Visual Cortex / metabolism


  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate