Thalamic plasticity induced by early whisker removal in rats.
Neurophysiological mapping was used to study the effects of early postnatal removal of mystacial whiskers on the organization of cutaneous receptive fields (RFs) within the ventral posterior thalamus (VP) of rats. This sensory deprivation induced an extensive reorganization of the thalamus, as reflected in larger facial or continuous overlapping face-body RFs and a higher proportion of slowly-adapting responses. Mapping of the VP of young rats (2-3 weeks old) demonstrated that the functional organization of the immature VP thalamus resembles that of the sensory-deprived VP, suggesting that an early postnatal sensory deprivation may interfere with the normal process of thalamic development.
Nicolelis, MA; Chapin, JK; Lin, RC
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