Author(s): Tong L, Kalil RE, Spear PD. Critical periods for functional and anatomical compensation in lateral suprasylvian visual area following removal of visual cortex in cats. J Neurophysiol. 1984 Nov;52(5):941-60.
Journal: Journal Of Neurophysiology, Volume 52, Issue 5, Nov 1984
Previous experiments have found that neurons in the cat’s lateral suprasylvian (LS) visual area of cortex show functional compensation following removal of visual cortical areas 17, 18, and 19 on the day of birth. Correspondingly, an enhanced retino-thalamic pathway to LS cortex develops in these cats. The present experiments investigated the critical periods for these changes. Unilateral lesions of areas 17, 18, and 19 were made in cats ranging in age from 1 day postnatal to 26 wk. When the cats were adult, single-cell recordings were made from LS cortex ipsilateral to the lesion. In addition, transneuronal autoradiographic methods were used to trace the retino-thalamic projections to LS cortex in many of the same animals. Following lesions in 18- and 26-wk-old cats, there is a marked reduction in direction-selective LS cortex cells and an increase in cells that respond best to stationary flashing stimuli. These results are similar to those following visual cortex lesions in adult cats. In contrast, the percentages of cells with these properties are normal following lesions made from 1 day to 12 wk of age. Thus the critical period for development of direction selectivity and greater responses to moving than to stationary flashing stimuli in LS cortex following a visual cortex lesion ends between 12 and 18 wk of age. Following lesions in 26-wk-old cats, there is a decrease in the percentage of cells that respond to the ipsilateral eye, which is similar to results following visual cortex lesions in adult cats. However, ocular dominance is normal following lesions made from 1 day to 18 wk of age. Thus the critical period for development of responses to the ipsilateral eye following a lesion ends between 18 and 26 wk of age. Following visual cortex lesions in 2-, 4-, or 8-wk-old cats, about 30% of the LS cortex cells display orientation selectivity to elongated slits of light. In contrast, few or no cells display this property in normal adult cats, cats with lesions made on the day of birth, or cats with lesions made at 12 wk of age or later. Thus an anomalous property develops for many LS cells, and the critical period for this property begins later (between 1 day and 2 wk) and ends earlier (between 8 and 12 wk) than those for other properties.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)