The neuronal serine protease inhibitor neuroserpin is widely expressed in the developing and adult brain. In the neocortex, neuroserpin is displayed particularly during the period of synaptic specification and refinement, indicating a role as modulator of extracellular proteolytic processes. The synaptic connections of the visual system of the mouse are shaped during early postnatal life by an activity-dependent process. We have studied the expression of the neuronal serine protease inhibitor neuroserpin in the primary visual cortex of mice from birth until the end of the critical period by means of reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and in situ hybridization. The localization and the level of expression were constant throughout this period. Monocular deprivation with an eyelid sutured induced a decrease in neuroserpin expression in neurons of area 17 after 1 week of deprivation, the decrease being more pronounced on the side contralateral to the closed eye. The expression of neuroserpin in the visual cortex during the critical period and its decrease in parallel to the refinement of synaptic contacts after visual deprivation suggests a regulative role of neuroserpin on these processes.