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J Comp Neurol. 1989 Jun 15;284(3):429-50.

Recovery from cortical blindness mediated by destruction of nontectotectal fibers in the commissure of the superior colliculus in the cat.

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Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104-6058.


Transection of the commissure of the superior colliculus restores visual orientation behavior to a cat previously rendered hemianopic by a unilateral visual cortical lesion (the Sprague effect). Using two methods, we asked whether this recovery resulted from the severing of the tectotectal component of the commissure or whether the destruction of some other connection was responsible. First, we transected either the rostral or the caudal one-half of the tectal commissure in hemianopic cats. If destruction of tectotectal fibers is responsible for the Sprague effect, then only rostral transections should produce the recovery since nearly all tectotectal connections lie in the rostral one-half of the commissure. However, rostral cuts failed to produce a recovery, whereas caudal commisurotomies did. Second, ibotenic acid was used to destroy the cells in the superior colliculus contralateral to the cortical lesion. This lesion eliminated the contralateral tectotectal pathway from the contralateral colliculus but left other fibers (originating elsewhere but coursing through the commissure) largely intact. These ibotenic acid lesions failed to produce the recovery; but when the caudal portion of the tectal commissure was subsequently transected in the same animals, the recovery was observed. The results of both experiments support the conclusion that the transection of a nontectotectal component of the commissure of the superior colliculus is responsible for the recovery of visual orientation behavior in a cortically blind cat.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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