Cortical effects of brief daily periods of unrestricted vision during early monocular form deprivation
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Experiencing daily brief periods of unrestricted vision during early monocular form deprivation prevents or reduces the degree of resulting amblyopia. To gain insight into the neural basis for these "protective" effects, we analyzed the monocular and binocular response properties of individual neurons in the primary visual cortex (V1) of macaque monkeys that received intermittent unrestricted vision. Microelectrode-recording experiments revealed significant decreases in the proportion of units that were dominated by the treated eyes, and the magnitude of this ocular dominance imbalance was correlated with the degree of amblyopia. The sensitivity of V1 neurons to interocular spatial phase disparity was significantly reduced in all treated monkeys compared with normal adults. With unrestricted vision, however, there was a small but significant increase in overall disparity sensitivity. Binocular suppression was prevalent in monkeys with constant form deprivation but significantly reduced by the daily periods of unrestricted vision. If neurons exhibited consistent responses to stimulation of the treated eye, monocular response properties obtained by stimulation of the two eyes were similar. These results suggest that the observed protective effects of brief periods of unrestricted vision are closely associated with the ability of V1 neurons to maintain their functional connections from the deprived eye and that interocular suppression in V1 may play an important role in regulating synaptic plasticity of these monkeys.
Sakai, Eiichi; Bi, Hua; Maruko, Ichiro; Zhang, Bin; Zheng, Jianghe; Wensveen, Janice M.; Harwerth, Ronald S.; Smith, Earl L. III; and Chino, Yuzo M., "Cortical effects of brief daily periods of unrestricted vision during early monocular form deprivation" (2006). Faculty Articles. 10.