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Título: Non-visual exploration of novel objects increases the levels of plasticity factors in the rat primary visual cortex
Autor(es): Pereira, Catia M.
Freire, Marco A.M.
Santos, José R.
Guimarães, Joanilson S.
Dias-Florencio, Gabriella
Santos, Sharlene
Pereira, Antonio
Ribeiro, Sidarta
Palavras-chave: Immediate-early gene;CaMKII;Phosphorylation;Cross-modal processing;Visual cortex
Data do documento: 16-Out-2018
Referência: Pereira et al. (2018), Non-visual exploration of novel objects increases the levels of plasticity factors in the rat primary visual cortex. PeerJ 6:e5678; DOI 10.7717/peerj.5678
Resumo: Background. Historically, the primary sensory areas of the cerebral cortex have been exclusively associated with the processing of a single sensory modality. Yet, the presence of tactile responses in the primary visual (V1) cortex has challenged this view, leading to the notion that primary sensory areas engage in cross-modal processing, and that the associated circuitry is modifiable by such activity. To explore this notion, here we assessed whether the exploration of novel objects in the dark induces the activation of plasticity markers in the V1 cortex of rats. Methods. Adult rats were allowed to freely explore for 20 min a completely dark box with four novel objects of different shapes and textures. Animals were euthanized either 1 (nD5) or 3 h (nD5) after exploration. A control group (nD5) was placed for 20 min in the same environment, but without the objects. Frontal sections of the brains were submitted to immunohistochemistry to measure protein levels of egr-1 and c-fos, and phosphorylated calcium-dependent kinase (pCaKMII), in V1 cortex. Results. The amount of neurons labeled with monoclonal antibodies against c-fos, egr-1 or pCaKMII increased significantly in V1 cortex after one hour of exploration in the dark. Three hours after exploration, the number of labeled neurons decreased to basal levels. Conclusions. Our results suggest that non-visual exploration induces the activation of immediate-early genes in V1 cortex, which is suggestive of cross-modal processing in this area. Besides, the increase in the number of neurons labeled with pCaKMII may signal a condition promoting synaptic plasticity.
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