Benzodiazepine ([3H]flunitrazepam) binding in cat visual cortex: ontogenesis of normal characteristics and the effects of dark rearing

C. Shaw, C. Aoki, M. Wilkinson, G. Prusky, M. Cynader

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


[3H]Flunitrazepam (FNZ) binding sites were characterized in homogenates of cat visual cortex during normal postnatal development and following dark rearing from birth. In parallel experiments, the distribution and density of [3H]FNZ binding sites were examined by in vitro autoradiographic or 'scrape' methods. In homogenates, Bmax measurements showed low early values, rising to a peak in receptor density at about 60 days postnatal, followed by a decline in adulthood. At all ages, γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) altered the Kd, but not the Bmax of [3H]FNZ binding sites. Kd values showed a general increase with age, parallelled by an increased sensitivity to GABA. Receptor autoradiography revealed that the highest density of [3H]FNZ binding sites was in layer IV of cats of all ages. Deafferentation of extrinsic inputs to the visual cortex by surgical undercutting did not alter this pattern of laminar distribution, indicating that the receptors were associated with intrinsic cortical elements rather than subcortical inputs. Dark rearing had no effect on [3H]FNZ laminar distribution in the visual cortex. The Bmax was higher at 30 days postnatal, but did not differ significantly thereafter. Modulation by GABA was concomitantly higher at 30 days, but lower than normal in dark-reared animals at ages greater than 30 days postnatal. The results are discussed in relation to the normal and abnormal development of GABA receptors in the cat visual cortex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-76
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopmental Brain Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Dec 15 1987


  • Benzodiazepine
  • Cat visual cortex
  • Dark rearing
  • Postnatal development
  • Receptor
  • γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology


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