Dark-rearing delays the loss of NMDA-receptor function in kitten visual cortex

Nature. 1991 Mar 28;350(6316):342-4. doi: 10.1038/350342a0.


Some features of the visual cortex develop postnatally in mammals. For example, geniculocortical axons that initially overlap throughout cortical layer IV segregate postnatally into two sets of interleaved eye-specific bands. NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptors are necessary for eye-specific axon-segregation in the frog tectum, and as NMDA receptors play a greater part in synaptic transmission in early life and decrease in function during the period of axon segregation, they may be involved in the segregation of geniculocortical axons: they are well placed to do so as they transduce retinally derived signals essential for segregation. Rearing animals in the dark in early life delays segregation and prolongs the critical period for plasticity. We now report that dark-rearing of kittens also delays the loss of NMDA receptor function in the visual cortex, supporting the view that they play an important part in neuronal development and plasticity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • 2-Amino-5-phosphonovalerate / pharmacology
  • 6-Cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione
  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Darkness
  • Light
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Quinoxalines / pharmacology
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / physiology*
  • Visual Cortex / drug effects
  • Visual Cortex / growth & development
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Perception*


  • Quinoxalines
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • 6-Cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione
  • 2-Amino-5-phosphonovalerate