Topographic map reorganization in cat area 17 after early monocular retinal lesions
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Neither discrete peripheral retinal lesions nor the normal optic disk produces obvious holes in one's percept of the world because the visual brain appears to perceptually "fill in" these blind spots. Where in the visual brain or how this filling in occurs is not well understood. A prevailing hypothesis states that topographic map of visual cortex reorganizes after retinal lesions, which "sews up" the hole in the topographic map representing the deprived area of cortex (cortical scotoma) and may lead to perceptual filling in. Since the map reorganization does not typically occur unless retinotopically matched lesions are made in both eyes, we investigated the conditions in which monocular retinal lesions can induce comparable map reorganization. We found that following monocular retinal lesions, deprived neurons in cat area 17 can acquire new receptive fields if the lesion occurred relatively early in life (8 weeks of age) and the lesioned cats experienced a substantial period of recovery (>3 years). Quantitative determination of the monocular and binocular response properties of reactivated units indicated that responses to the lesioned eye for such neurons were remarkably robust, and that the receptive-field properties for the two eyes were generally similar. Moreover, excitatory or inhibitory binocular interactions were found in the majority of experimental units when the two eyes were activated together. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that map reorganization after monocular retinal lesions require experience-dependent plasticity and may be involved in the perceptual filling in of blind spots due to retinal lesions early in life.
Topographic map reorganization, Area 17, Retinal lesions, Cats, Filling-in
Matsuura, Kazuki; Zhang, Bin; Mori, Takafumi; Smith, Earl L. III; Kass, Jon H.; and Chino, Yuzo M., "Topographic map reorganization in cat area 17 after early monocular retinal lesions" (2002). Faculty Articles. 5.