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Environmental enrichment in adulthood promotes amblyopia recovery through a reduction of intracortical inhibition

Nature Neuroscience volume 10, pages 679681 (2007) | Download Citation

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Abstract

Loss of visual acuity caused by abnormal visual experience during development (amblyopia) is an untreatable pathology in adults. We report that environmental enrichment in adult amblyopic rats restored normal visual acuity and ocular dominance. These effects were due to reduced GABAergic inhibition in the visual cortex, accompanied by increased expression of BDNF and reduced density of extracellular-matrix perineuronal nets, and were prevented by enhancement of inhibition through benzodiazepine cortical infusion.

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Acknowledgements

We thank F. Clementi for kindly providing us the diazepam and A. Viegi for his technical assistance with high-performance liquid chromatography. This work was supported by grants from Ministero dell'Università e della Ricerca (MIUR), Programmi di Ricerca di Rilevante Interesse Nazionale (PRIN) and Fondo Integrativo Speciale Ricerca (FISR).

Author information

Author notes

    • Alessandro Sale
    •  & José Fernando Maya Vetencourt

    These authors contributed equally to this work.

Affiliations

  1. Scuola Normale Superiore, Piazza dei Cavalieri, I-56100 Pisa, Italy.

    • Alessandro Sale
    • , José Fernando Maya Vetencourt
    • , Laura Baroncelli
    • , Roberto De Pasquale
    •  & Lamberto Maffei
  2. Institute of Neuroscience, CNR, Via Moruzzi 1, I-56100 Pisa, Italy.

    • Paolo Medini
    • , Maria Cristina Cenni
    •  & Lamberto Maffei

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Contributions

A.S. and J.F.M.V. contributed equally to this work. A.S. carried out the in vivo electrophysiology, behavioral experiments, immunohistochemistry and assisted in the in vivo brain microdialysis. J.F.M.V. carried out the in vivo brain microdialysis, high performance liquid chromatography and assisted in the in vivo electrophysiology. P.M. carried out the in vivo electrophysiology and M.C.C., the immunohistochemistry experiments. L.B. performed the behavioral assessment of visual acuity in normal rats and R.D.P., the in vitro electrophysiology. A.S., J.F.M.V. and L.M. wrote the manuscript. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Alessandro Sale.

Supplementary information

PDF files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Fig. 1

    Visual acuity recovery in RS-EE adult rats.

  2. 2.

    Supplementary Fig. 2

    Levels of extracellular glutamate are not different between RS-SC and RS-EE adult rats.

  3. 3.

    Supplementary Fig. 3

    Environmental enrichment–induced changes of plasticity factors in the visual cortex.

  4. 4.

    Supplementary Methods

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nn1899