Thalamic projections to the lateral suprasylvian visual area in cats with neonatal or adult visual cortex damage.

PubMed ID: 1726108

Author(s): Kalil RE, Tong LL, Spear PD. Thalamic projections to the lateral suprasylvian visual area in cats with neonatal or adult visual cortex damage. J Comp Neurol. 1991 Dec 15;314(3):512-25. PMID 1726108

Journal: The Journal Of Comparative Neurology, Volume 314, Issue 3, Dec 1991

Previous transneuronal anterograde tracing studies have shown that the retino-thalamic pathway to the posteromedial lateral suprasylvian (PMLS) visual area of cortex is heavier than normal in adult cats that received neonatal damage to visual cortical areas 17, 18, and 19. In contrast, the strength of this projection does not appear to differ from that in normal animals in cats that experienced visual cortex damage as adults. In the present study, we used retrograde tracing methods to identify the thalamic cells that project to the PMLS cortex in adult cats that had received a lesion of visual cortex during infancy or adulthood. In five kittens, a unilateral visual cortex lesion was made on the day of birth, and horseradish peroxidase (HRP) was injected into the PMLS cortex of both hemispheres when the animals were 10.5 to 13 months old. For comparison, HRP was injected bilaterally into the PMLS cortex of three cats 6.5 to 13.5 months after they received a similar unilateral visual cortex lesion as adults. In cats with a neonatal lesion, retrograde labeling was found in the large neurons that survive in the otherwise degenerated layers A and A1 of the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) ipsilateral to the lesion. Retrograde labeling of A-layer neurons was not seen in the undamaged hemisphere of these animals or in either hemisphere of animals that had received a lesion as adults. As in normal adult cats, retrograde labeling also was present in the C layers of the LGN, the medial interlaminar nucleus, the posterior nucleus of Rioch, the lateral posterior nucleus, and the pulvinar nucleus ipsilateral to a neonatal or adult lesion. Quantitative estimates indicate that the number of labeled cells is much larger than normal in the C layers of the LGN ipsilateral to a neonatal visual cortex lesion. Thus the results indicate that the heavier than normal projection from the thalamus to PMLS cortex that exists in adult cats after neonatal visual cortex damage arises, at least in part, from surviving LGN neurons in the A and C layers of the LGN. Although several thalamic nuclei, as well as the C layers of the LGN, continue to project to PMLS cortex after an adult visual cortex lesion, these projections appear not to be affected significantly by the lesion.