Eye opening rapidly induces synaptic potentiation and refinement

Neuron. 2004 Jul 22;43(2):237-49. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2004.06.031.


NMDA receptor (NMDAR)-mediated increases in AMPA receptor (AMPAR) currents are associated with long-term synaptic potentiation (LTP). Here, we provide evidence that similar changes occur in response to normal increases in sensory stimulation during development. Experiments discriminated between eye opening-induced and age-dependent changes in synaptic currents. At 6 hr after eye opening (AEO), a transient population of currents mediated by NR2B-rich NMDARs increase significantly, and silent synapses peak. Sustained increases in evoked and miniature AMPAR currents occur at 12 hr AEO. Significant changes in AMPAR:NMDAR evoked current ratios, contacts per axon, and inputs per cell are present at 24 hr AEO. The AMPAR current changes are those seen in vitro during NMDAR-dependent LTP. Here, they are a consequence of eye opening and are associated with a new wave of synaptic refinement. These data also suggest that new NR2B-rich NMDAR currents precede and may initiate this developmental synaptic potentiation and functional tuning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn / growth & development
  • Animals, Newborn / physiology*
  • Axons / physiology
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Eyelids / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Presynaptic Terminals / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, AMPA / physiology
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / physiology
  • Superior Colliculi / physiology*
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Time Factors


  • Receptors, AMPA
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate