Spike timing-dependent LTP/LTD mediates visual experience-dependent plasticity in a developing retinotectal system

Neuron. 2006 Apr 6;50(1):115-25. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2006.03.009.


Sensory experience plays an instructive role in the development of the nervous system. Here we showed that visual experience can induce persistent modification of developing retinotectal circuits via spike timing-dependent plasticity (STDP). Pairing light stimuli with spiking of the tectal cell induced persistent enhancement or reduction of light-evoked responses, with a dependence on the relative timing between light stimulus and postsynaptic spiking similar to that for STDP. Using precisely timed sequential three-bar stimulation to mimic a moving bar, we showed that spike timing-dependent LTP/LTD can account for the asymmetric modification of the tectal cell receptive field induced by moving bar. Furthermore, selective inhibition of signaling mediated by brain-derived neurotrophic factor and nitric oxide, which are respectively required for light-induced LTP and LTD, interfered with moving bar-induced temporally specific changes in the tectal cell responses. Together, these findings suggest that STDP can mediate sensory experience-dependent circuit refinement in the developing nervous system.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • 2-Amino-5-phosphonovalerate / pharmacology
  • Action Potentials / drug effects
  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Action Potentials / radiation effects
  • Animals
  • Carbazoles / pharmacology
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists / pharmacology
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Indole Alkaloids
  • Long-Term Potentiation / drug effects
  • Long-Term Potentiation / physiology
  • Long-Term Potentiation / radiation effects
  • Long-Term Synaptic Depression / drug effects
  • Long-Term Synaptic Depression / physiology
  • Long-Term Synaptic Depression / radiation effects
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • NG-Nitroarginine Methyl Ester / pharmacology
  • Neuronal Plasticity / drug effects
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques / methods
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Retina / physiology*
  • Superior Colliculi* / cytology
  • Superior Colliculi* / physiology
  • Time Factors
  • Visual Pathways / physiology*
  • Xenopus laevis


  • Carbazoles
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
  • Indole Alkaloids
  • 2-Amino-5-phosphonovalerate
  • staurosporine aglycone
  • NG-Nitroarginine Methyl Ester