Molecule boosts brain rewiring


    Blocking a brain-cell receptor boosts the brain's ability to form new neuronal connections as it adapts to changing stimuli.

    Carla Shatz at Stanford University in California and her colleagues disrupted the receptor, PirB, in the visual centre of mouse brains by either genetically deleting it or blocking it with a molecule.

    They found that when these mice were forced to use only one eye, circuits in their visual cortices were able to rewire better than those of normal mice. This happened even in adulthood, when brain-cell rewiring becomes more difficult. In a mouse model of amblyopia, or 'lazy eye', the blocking molecule made the brain sensitive to signals from the unused eye, allowing better vision in that eye.

    Targeting PirB could be a way to treat amblyopia and other brain disorders, the authors say.

    Sci. Transl. Med. 6, 258ra140 (2014)

    Rights and permissions

    Reprints and Permissions

    About this article

    Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

    Cite this article

    Molecule boosts brain rewiring. Nature 514, 407 (2014).

    Download citation


    By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


    Quick links

    Nature Briefing

    Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

    Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing