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Deprivation-Induced Plasticity in the Early Central Circuits of the Rodent Visual, Auditory, and Olfactory Systems.

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Activity-dependent neuronal plasticity is crucial for animals to adapt to dynamic sensory environments. Traditionally, it has been investigated using deprivation approaches in animal models primarily in sensory cortices. Nevertheless, emerging evidence emphasizes its significance in sensory organs and in subcortical regions where cranial nerves relay information to the brain. Additionally, critical questions started to arise. Do different sensory modalities share common cellular mechanisms for deprivation-induced plasticity at these central entry points? Does the deprivation duration correlate with specific plasticity mechanisms? This study systematically reviews and meta-analyzes research papers that investigated visual, auditory, or olfactory deprivation in rodents of both sexes. It examines the consequences of sensory deprivation in homologous regions at the first central synapse following cranial nerve transmission (vision - lateral geniculate nucleus and superior colliculus; audition - ventral and dorsal cochlear nucleus; olfaction - olfactory bulb). The systematic search yielded 91 papers (39 vision, 22 audition, 30 olfaction), revealing substantial heterogeneity in publication trends, experimental methods, measures of plasticity, and reporting across the sensory modalities. Despite these differences, commonalities emerged when correlating plasticity mechanisms with the duration of sensory deprivation. Short-term deprivation (up to 1 d) reduced activity and increased disinhibition, medium-term deprivation (1 d to a week) involved glial changes and synaptic remodeling, and long-term deprivation (over a week) primarily led to structural alterations. These findings underscore the importance of standardizing methodologies and reporting practices. Additionally, they highlight the value of cross-modal synthesis for understanding how the nervous system, including peripheral, precortical, and cortical areas, respond to and compensate for sensory inputs loss.



audition, olfaction, plasticity, rodent, sensory deprivation, vision, Male, Animals, Female, Rodentia, Hearing, Synaptic Transmission, Synapses, Vision, Ocular, Neuronal Plasticity, Sensory Deprivation

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Society for Neuroscience
Royal Society (RGS/R1/191481)
BBSRC (BB/W014688/1)
This research was supported in part by the National Science Foundation under Grant NSF PHY-1748958, a Royal Society Research grant RGS\R1\19148, an UKRI BSRC grant BB/W014688/1 (EG) and by a Cambridge Trust PhD studentship (LH).
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