Activity-dependent PSA expression regulates inhibitory maturation and onset of critical period plasticity

Nat Neurosci. 2007 Dec;10(12):1569-77. doi: 10.1038/nn2008. Epub 2007 Nov 18.


Functional maturation of GABAergic innervation in the developing visual cortex is regulated by neural activity and sensory inputs and in turn influences the critical period of ocular dominance plasticity. Here we show that polysialic acid (PSA), presented by the neural cell adhesion molecule, has a role in the maturation of GABAergic innervation and ocular dominance plasticity. Concentrations of PSA significantly decline shortly after eye opening in the adolescent mouse visual cortex; this decline is hindered by visual deprivation. The developmental and activity-dependent regulation of PSA expression is inversely correlated with the maturation of GABAergic innervation. Premature removal of PSA in visual cortex results in precocious maturation of perisomatic innervation by basket interneurons, enhanced inhibitory synaptic transmission, and earlier onset of ocular dominance plasticity. The developmental and activity-dependent decline of PSA expression therefore regulates the timing of the maturation of GABAergic inhibition and the onset of ocular dominance plasticity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anesthetics, Local / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Critical Period, Psychological*
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / radiation effects
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase / metabolism
  • Glycoside Hydrolases / pharmacology
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Mice
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Sensory Deprivation / physiology
  • Sialic Acids / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Sialic Acids / metabolism*
  • Tetrodotoxin / pharmacology
  • Visual Cortex / growth & development
  • Visual Pathways / physiology
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism


  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Sialic Acids
  • polysialic acid
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Tetrodotoxin
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Glycoside Hydrolases
  • endo-alpha-sialidase
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase
  • glutamate decarboxylase 2