The precise period when experience shapes neural circuits in the mouse visual system is unknown. We used Arc induction to monitor the functional pattern of ipsilateral eye representation in cortex during normal development and after visual deprivation. After monocular deprivation during the critical period, Arc induction reflects ocular dominance (OD) shifts within the binocular zone. Arc induction also reports faithfully expected OD shifts in cat. Shifts towards the open eye and weakening of the deprived eye were seen in layer 4 after the critical period ends and also before it begins. These shifts include an unexpected spatial expansion of Arc induction into the monocular zone. However, this plasticity is not present in adult layer 6. Thus, functionally assessed OD can be altered in cortex by ocular imbalances substantially earlier and far later than expected.
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