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Sci. Signal., 23 March 2010
Vol. 3, Issue 114, p. ec89
[DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.3114ec89]

EDITORS' CHOICE

Neuroscience Puberty Impairs Plasticity

Peter Stern

Science, AAAS, Cambridge CB2 1LQ, UK

While the existence of a period of reduced learning coinciding with the onset of puberty in mice is well characterized, the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms remain unclear. Shen et al. assessed the role of specific {gamma}-aminobutyric acid type A (GABAA) receptors for restricting hippocampal plasticity during puberty. At puberty, but not in adults or the very young, GABA receptors containing the {alpha}4 and {delta} subunits were targeted perisynaptically to excitatory synapses, shunting the depolarizing current necessary for N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor activation. As a consequence, signal transmission was affected and spatial learning reduced.

H. Shen, N. Sabaliauskas, A. Sherpa, A. A. Fenton, A. Stelzer, C. Aoki, S. S. Smith, A critical role for {alpha}{delta} GABAA receptors in shaping learning deficits at puberty in mice. Science 327, 1515–1518 (2010). [Abstract] [Full Text]

Citation: P. Stern, Puberty Impairs Plasticity. Sci. Signal. 3, ec89 (2010).


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