Homeostatic plasticity is important to maintain a set level of activity in neuronal circuits and has been most extensively studied in cell cultures following activity blockade. It is still unclear, however, whether activity changes associated with mechanisms of homeostatic plasticity occur in vivo, for example after changes in sensory input. Here, we show that activity levels in the visual cortex are significantly decreased after sensory deprivation by retinal lesions, followed by a gradual increase in activity levels in the 48 hr after deprivation. These activity changes are associated with synaptic scaling, manifested in vitro by an increase in mEPSC amplitude and in vivo by an increase in spine size. Together, these data show that homeostatic activity changes occur in vivo in parallel with synaptic scaling.
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