Adult cortical plasticity depends on an early postnatal critical period

Stuart D. Greenhill, Konrad Juczewski, Annelies M. de Haan, Gillian Seaton, Kevin Fox, Neil R. Hardingham*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Development of the cerebral cortex is influenced by sensory experience during distinct phases of postnatal development known as critical periods. Disruption of experience during a critical period produces neurons that lack specificity for particular stimulus features, such as location in the somatosensory system. Synaptic plasticity is the agent by which sensory experience affects cortical development. Here, we describe, in mice, a developmental critical period that affects plasticity itself. Transient neonatal disruption of signaling via the C-terminal domain of "disrupted in schizophrenia 1" (DISC1)-a molecule implicated in psychiatric disorders-resulted in a lack of long-term potentiation (LTP) (persistent strengthening of synapses) and experience-dependent potentiation in adulthood. Long-term depression (LTD) (selective weakening of specific sets of synapses) and reversal of LTD were present, although impaired, in adolescence and absent in adulthood. These changes may form the basis for the cognitive deficits associated with mutations in DISC1 and the delayed onset of a range of psychiatric symptoms in late adolescence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)424-427
Number of pages4
Issue number6246
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2015

Bibliographical note

This is the author’s version of the work. It is posted here by permission of the AAAS for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Science on Volume 349 Issue 6246 24 July 2015], DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa8481


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