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J Neurosci. 2002 Aug 1;22(15):6549-59.

Mapping retinotopic structure in mouse visual cortex with optical imaging.

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Max-Planck-Institut für Neurobiologie, D-82152 Martinsried, Germany.


We have used optical imaging of intrinsic signals to visualize the retinotopic organization of mouse visual cortex. The functionally determined position, size, and shape of area 17 corresponded precisely to the location of this area as seen in stained cortical sections. The retinotopic map, which was confirmed with electrophysiological recordings, exhibited very low inter-animal variability, thus allowing averaging of maps across animals. Patches of activity in area 17 were often encircled by regions in which the intrinsic signal dropped below baseline, suggesting the presence of strong surround inhibition. Single-unit recordings revealed that this decrease of the intrinsic signal indeed correlated with a drop of neuronal firing rate below baseline. The averaged maps also greatly facilitated the identification of extrastriate visual activity, pointing to at least four extrastriate visual areas in the mouse. We conclude that optical imaging is ideally suited to visualize retinotopic maps in mice, thus making this a powerful technique for the analysis of map structure in transgenic animals.

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