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J Neurosci. 2003 Mar 15;23(6):2251-64.

Responses of neurons in the middle temporal visual area after long-standing lesions of the primary visual cortex in adult new world monkeys.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee 37203, USA.


The retinotopic organization of the middle temporal visual area (MT) was determined in six adult owl monkeys and one adult marmoset 69 d to 10 months after lesions of the dorsolateral primary visual cortex (V1). The lesions removed were limited to extensive parts of the representation of the lower visual quadrant in V1. Microelectrodes were used to record from neurons at numerous sites in MT to determine whether parts of MT normally devoted to the lower visual quadrant (1) were unresponsive to visual stimuli, (2) acquired responsiveness to inputs from intact portions of V1, or (3) became responsive to some other visually driven input such as a relay from the superior colliculus via the pulvinar to MT. All monkeys (n = 6) with moderate to moderately large lesions had unresponsive portions of MT even after 10 months of recovery. These unresponsive regions were retinotopically equivalent to the removed parts of V1 in normal animals. Thus, there was no evidence for an alternative source of activation. In addition, these results indicate that any retinotopic reorganization of MT based on inputs from intact portions of V1 was not extensive, yet neurons near the margins of responsive cortex may have acquired new receptive fields, and the smallest 5 degrees lesion of V1 failed to produce an unresponsive zone. Deprived portions of MT were not remarkably changed in histological appearance in cytochrome oxidase, Nissl, and Wisteria floribunda agglutinin preparations. Nevertheless, some reduction in myelin staining and other histological changes were suggested. We conclude that MT is highly dependent on V1 for activation in these monkeys, and alternative sources do not become effective over months when normal activation is absent. Additionally, remaining V1 inputs have only a limited capacity to expand their activation territory into deprived portions of MT.

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