A comparison of experience-dependent plasticity in the visual and somatosensory systems

Neuron. 2005 Nov 3;48(3):465-77. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2005.10.013.


In the visual and somatosensory systems, maturation of neuronal circuits continues for days to weeks after sensory stimulation occurs. Deprivation of sensory input at various stages of development can induce physiological, and often structural, changes that modify the circuitry of these sensory systems. Recent studies also reveal a surprising degree of plasticity in the mature visual and somatosensory pathways. Here, we compare and contrast the effects of sensory experience on the connectivity and function of these pathways and discuss what is known to date concerning the structural, physiological, and molecular mechanisms underlying their plasticity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Afferent Pathways / cytology
  • Afferent Pathways / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Somatosensory Cortex / cytology
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Visual Cortex / cytology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*