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Inhibitory Neuron Transplantation into Adult Visual Cortex Creates a New Critical Period that Rescues Impaired Vision


The maturation of inhibitory circuits in juvenile visual cortex triggers a critical period in the development of the visual system. Although several manipulations of inhibition can alter the timing of the critical period, none have demonstrated the creation of a new critical period in adulthood. We developed a transplantation method to reactivate critical period plasticity in the adult visual cortex. Transplanted embryonic inhibitory neurons from the medial ganglionic eminence reinstate ocular dominance plasticity inadult recipients. Transplanted inhibitory cells develop cell-type-appropriate molecular characteristics and visually evoked responses. In adult mice impaired by deprivation during the juvenile critical period, transplantation also recovers both visual cortical responses and performance on a behavioral test of visual acuity. Plasticity and recovery are induced when the critical period would have occurred in the donor animal. These results reveal that the focal reactivation of visual cortical plasticity using inhibitory cell transplantation creates a new critical period that restores visual perception after childhood deprivation.

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