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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(More)
Retina has long been considered less plastic than cortex or hippocampus, the very sites of experience-dependent plasticity. Now, we show that retinal development is responsive to the experience provided by an enriched environment (EE): the maturation of retinal acuity, which is a sensitive index of retinal circuitry development, is strongly accelerated in(More)
The bcl-2 gene codes for a protein that acts as a powerful inhibitor of active cell death. Since the transection of the optic nerve in adult mammalians starts a massive process of degeneration in retinal ganglion cells, we investigated whether the overexpression of bcl-2 in adult transgenic mice can protect the axotomized ganglion cells. We performed(More)
A well-known developmental event of retinal maturation is the progressive segregation of retinal ganglion cell (RGC) dendrites into a and b sublaminae of the inner plexiform layer (IPL), a morphological rearrangement crucial for the emergence of the ON and OFF pathways. The factors regulating this process are not known, although electrical activity has been(More)
Environmental enrichment strongly affects visual system maturation both at retinal and cortical levels. Which molecular pathways are activated by an enriched environment (EE) to regulate visual system development has not been clarified. Here, we show that early [postnatal day 1 (P1) to P7] insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) injections in the eyes of(More)
BACKGROUND The neurotrophins, which include nerve growth factor (NGF), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), neurotrophin-3 (NT-3), NT-4/5 and NT-6, are a family of proteins that play fundamental roles in the differentiation, survival and maintenance of peripheral and central neurons. Much research has focused on the role of neurotrophins as(More)
Early life experiences can affect brain development, contributing to shape interindividual differences in stress vulnerability and anxiety-like behavior. In rodents, high levels of maternal care have long-lasting positive effects on the behavior of the offspring and stress response; post-weaning rearing in an enriched environment (EE) or massage counteract(More)
Environmental enrichment (EE) is known to enhance learning and memory. Declarative memories are thought to undergo a first rapid and local consolidation process, followed by a prolonged process of system consolidation, which consist in a time-dependent gradual reorganization of brain regions supporting remote memory storage and crucial for the formation of(More)
Approximately half of the retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) present in the rodent retina at birth normally die during early development. Overexpression of the photo-oncogene bcl-2 recently has been shown to rescue some neuronal populations from natural cell death and from degeneration induced by axotomy of nerves within the peripheral nervous system. Here we(More)
Attempts to rescue retinal ganglion cells from retrograde degeneration have had limited success, and the residual function of surviving neurons is not known. Recently, it has been found that axotomized retinal ganglion cells die by apoptotic mechanisms. We have used adult transgenic mice overexpressing the Bcl-2 protein, a powerful inhibitor of apoptosis,(More)