GABA(B) receptor-dependent bidirectional regulation of critical period ocular dominance plasticity in cats

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Gama amino butyric acid (GABA) inhibition plays an important role in the onset and offset of the critical period for ocular dominance (OD) plasticity in the primary visual cortex. Previous studies have focused on the involvement of GABAA receptors, while the potential contribution of GABAB receptors to OD plasticity has been neglected. In this study, the GABAB receptor antagonist SCH50911 or agonist baclofen was infused into the primary visual cortex of cats concurrently with a period of monocular deprivation (MD). Using single-unit recordings we found that the OD shift induced by four days of MD during the critical period was impaired by infusion of the antagonist SCH50911, but enhanced by infusion of the agonist baclofen. In contrast, seven days of MD in adult cats did not induce any significant OD shift, even when combined with the infusion of SCH50911 or baclofen. Together, these findings indicate that an endogenous GABAB receptor-mediated inhibition contributes to juvenile, but not adult, OD plasticity.