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Windows of plasticity allow environmental experiences to produce intense activity-dependent changes during postnatal development. The reordering and refinement of neural connections occurs during these periods, significantly influencing the formation of brain circuits and physiological processes in adults. Recent advances have shed light on factors that determine the onset and duration of sensitive and critical periods of plasticity. Although GABAergic inhibition has classically been implicated in closing windows of plasticity, astrocytes and adenosinergic inhibition have also emerged more recently as key determinants of the duration of these periods of plasticity. Here, we review novel aspects of the involvement of GABAergic inhibition, the possible role of presynaptic NMDARs, and the emerging roles of astrocytes and adenosinergic inhibition in determining the duration of windows of plasticity in different brain regions.

Original publication




Journal article


Trends Neurosci

Publication Date





566 - 580


GABA, STDP, adenosine A(1)R, gliotransmitters, neurodevelopment, windows of plasticity, Adult, Humans, Astrocytes, Neuronal Plasticity, Neurons, Brain