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J Comp Neurol. 2013 Apr 1;521(5):1001-19. doi: 10.1002/cne.23215.

Representation of the visual field in the primary visual area of the marmoset monkey: magnification factors, point-image size, and proportionality to retinal ganglion cell density.

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Department of Physiology, Monash University, Clayton, VIC 3800, Australia.


The primary visual area (V1) forms a systematic map of the visual field, in which adjacent cell clusters represent adjacent points of visual space. A precise quantification of this map is key to understanding the anatomical relationships between neurons located in different stations of the visual pathway, as well as the neural bases of visual performance in different regions of the visual field. We used computational methods to quantify the visual topography of V1 in the marmoset (Callithrix jacchus), a small diurnal monkey. The receptive fields of neurons throughout V1 were mapped in two anesthetized animals using electrophysiological recordings. Following histological reconstruction, precise 3D reconstructions of the V1 surface and recording sites were generated. We found that the areal magnification factor (M(A) ) decreases with eccentricity following a function that has the same slope as that observed in larger diurnal primates, including macaque, squirrel, and capuchin monkeys, and humans. However, there was no systematic relationship between M(A) and polar angle. Despite individual variation in the shape of V1, the relationship between M(A) and eccentricity was preserved across cases. Comparison between V1 and the retinal ganglion cell density demonstrated preferential magnification of central space in the cortex. The size of the cortical compartment activated by a punctiform stimulus decreased from the foveal representation towards the peripheral representation. Nonetheless, the relationship between the receptive field sizes of V1 cells and the density of ganglion cells suggested that each V1 cell receives information from a similar number of retinal neurons, throughout the visual field.

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