Modulation of synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus by sensory deprivation

H Milshtein, I Dolev, Y Amitai, I Slutsky

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


A fundamental feature of neural circuits is the capacity for
plasticity in response to experience or learning. Primary
sensory cortices display a 'critical period' (CP), an early
postnatal epoch of enhanced plasticity during which largescale changes in response selectivity can be induced by
changes in sensory experience. Sensory input promotes
maturation of cortical synapses, while sensory deprivation
delays and prolongs CP. Later adult plasticity in sensory
cortices is limited and depends on attention and behavioral
outcome. In contrast, hippocampus is known to maintain its
high capacity to undergo activity-dependent synaptic plasticity throughout life. While cortical efferents from all major
sensory areas converge to the hippocampus via the perirhinal and postrhinal and then the entorhinal cortices, it is
completely unknown whether sensory experience regulates
synaptic plasticity in hippocampal networks.
We explored the effect of visual and somatosensory deprivation
on synaptic dynamics in hippocampal networks by comparing
synaptic local field potentials in hippocampal slices from control
and sensory-deprived animals. Our data show that visual and
whisker deprivation during the corresponding cortical CP alters
short-term synaptic plasticity in several hippocampal pathways.
Short-term facilitationinSchafferCollateral synaptic connections
was enhanced by both dark rearing and bilateral whisker trimming. Furthermore, whisker trimming increased synaptic facilitation in the medial temporoammonic and lateral perforant
pathways, while it did not alter synaptic dynamics in the lateral
temporoammonic and medial perforant pathways. These results
demonstrate that sensory deprivation during cortical CP affects
hippocampal synaptic processing by promoting short-term synaptic facilitation in a pathway-specific manner.
Original languageEnglish GB
StatePublished - 2013


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