Molecular correlates of cortical network modulation by long-term sensory experience in the adult rat barrel cortex

Learn Mem. 2014 May 15;21(6):305-10. doi: 10.1101/lm.034827.114. Print 2014 Jun.


Modulation of cortical network connectivity is crucial for an adaptive response to experience. In the rat barrel cortex, long-term sensory stimulation induces cortical network modifications and neuronal response changes of which the molecular basis is unknown. Here, we show that long-term somatosensory stimulation by enriched environment up-regulates cortical expression of neuropeptide mRNAs and down-regulates immediate-early gene (IEG) mRNAs specifically in the barrel cortex, and not in other brain regions. The present data suggest a central role of neuropeptides in the fine-tuning of sensory cortical circuits by long-term experience.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Down-Regulation
  • Environment, Controlled
  • Genes, Immediate-Early / physiology*
  • Nerve Net / metabolism*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / genetics*
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Neuropeptides / metabolism*
  • Physical Stimulation
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Somatosensory Cortex / metabolism*
  • Touch / physiology*
  • Transcriptome
  • Up-Regulation


  • Neuropeptides
  • RNA, Messenger