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Science 310 (5749): 810-815

Copyright © 2005 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Map Plasticity in Somatosensory Cortex

Daniel E. Feldman1*, and Michael Brecht2

Abstract: Sensory maps in neocortex are adaptively altered to reflect recent experience and learning. In somatosensory cortex, distinct patterns of sensory use or disuse elicit multiple, functionally distinct forms of map plasticity. Diverse approaches—genetics, synaptic and in vivo physiology, optical imaging, and ultrastructural analysis—suggest a distributed model in which plasticity occurs at multiple sites in the cortical circuit with multiple cellular/synaptic mechanisms and multiple likely learning rules for plasticity. This view contrasts with the classical model in which the map plasticity reflects a single Hebbian process acting at a small set of cortical synapses.

1 Division of Biological Sciences, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, Room 0357, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.
2 Department of Neuroscience, Erasmus MC, Postbus 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, Netherlands.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: dfeldman{at}

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