Synaptogenesis in human visual cortex--evidence for synapse elimination during normal development

Neurosci Lett. 1982 Dec 13;33(3):247-52. doi: 10.1016/0304-3940(82)90379-2.


Age-related changes in synaptic density in human visual cortical area 17 (striate cortex) were determined, based on counts in material prepared for electron microscopy with the phosphotungstic acid method. The results were correlated with measurements of the volume of striate cortex from celloidin sections. Two periods were defined, one of rapid synapse production which ends at about postnatal age 8 months, and a subsequent longer period of synapse elimination which extends past age 3 years. Exuberant synaptic connections during early childhood may impart to the immature cerebral cortex plasticity which is lost in the adult.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Computers
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Degeneration*
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Pregnancy
  • Synapses / ultrastructure*
  • Visual Cortex / cytology*