The onset of visual experience gates auditory cortex critical periods

Todd M. Mowery, Vibhakar C. Kotak, Dan H. Sanes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sensory systems influence one another during development and deprivation can lead to cross-modal plasticity. As auditory function begins before vision, we investigate the effect of manipulating visual experience during auditory cortex critical periods (CPs) by assessing the influence of early, normal and delayed eyelid opening on hearing loss-induced changes to membrane and inhibitory synaptic properties. Early eyelid opening closes the auditory cortex CPs precociously and dark rearing prevents this effect. In contrast, delayed eyelid opening extends the auditory cortex CPs by several additional days. The CP for recovery from hearing loss is also closed prematurely by early eyelid opening and extended by delayed eyelid opening. Furthermore, when coupled with transient hearing loss that animals normally fully recover from, very early visual experience leads to inhibitory deficits that persist into adulthood. Finally, we demonstrate a functional projection from the visual to auditory cortex that could mediate these effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10416
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - Jan 20 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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