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Nature. 1989 Jan 19;337(6204):265-7.

Maturation and connectivity of the visual cortex in monkey is altered by prenatal removal of retinal input.

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MRC Anatomical Neuropharmacology Unit, Department of Pharmacology, Oxford, UK.


In several species, the peripheral input from the eyes partly determines the pattern of interconnections between the visual areas of the two cerebral hemispheres through the fibre tract termed the corpus callosum. In the macaque monkey, the neurons projecting through the callosum are largely restricted to area 18 throughout ontogeny, whereas area 17 is characterized by few or no callosal projections. Here, we show that suppressing the peripheral input by prenatal removal of the eyes leads to a marked reduction in the extent of area 17, resulting in a large shift in the position of the histologically identifiable boundary between the two areas. Even so, the boundary continues to separate an area rich with callosal connections (area 18) from one poor in such projections (area 17), indicating there is no effect on the callosal connectivity of area 17. In contrast, in area 18, eye removal results in many more neurons with callosal projections than in normal animals. The results suggest that the factors that determine the parcellation of cortical areas also specify their connectivity.

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