Effect of longer periods of dark rearing on NMDA receptors in cat visual cortex

J Neurophysiol. 1994 Sep;72(3):1220-6. doi: 10.1152/jn.1994.72.3.1220.


1. Cats were reared in the dark to 3, 5, and 11 mo. We studied the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor contribution to the visual response in the cortex, defined as the percentage reduction in visual response after application of 2-amino-5-phosphonovaleric acid (APV). We also studied the firing rate in response to the optimal visual stimulus and the spontaneous activity. We made comparisons of all these properties between light-reared and dark-reared animals. 2. The NMDA receptor contribution to the visual response in layers IV, V, and VI of dark-reared animals was substantially above that in light-reared animals at all ages tested. 3. The specificity of receptive field properties in dark-reared animals showed some degeneration between 6 wk and 3 mo of age. At > or = 3 mo, almost no cells were specific for orientation and direction of movement. 4. Firing rate was lower in dark-reared animals at all ages, suggesting a decrease in excitatory drive to the visual cortex. 5. Spontaneous activity was equal in dark- and light-reared animals, suggesting that the overall level of activity (including visual responses as well as spontaneous activity) in light-reared animals is higher than in dark-reared animals. This should tend to upregulate glutamate receptors in general in dark-reared animals.

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
  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Dark Adaptation / drug effects
  • Dark Adaptation / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / drug effects
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Orientation / drug effects
  • Orientation / physiology
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / drug effects
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / physiology*
  • Sensory Deprivation / physiology*
  • Visual Cortex / drug effects
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / drug effects
  • Visual Perception / physiology*


  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • 2-Amino-5-phosphonovalerate