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J Neurophysiol. 1989 Jul;62(1):185-97.

Chronic recordings from single sites of kitten striate cortex during experience-dependent modifications of receptive-field properties.

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Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Department of Neurophysiology, Frankfurt Federal Republic of Germany.


1. With the use of chronically implanted floating microelectrodes, we obtained simultaneous single-unit recordings from multiple sites in the kitten striate cortex and followed experience-dependent modifications of receptive-field properties. For induction of experimental modifications, we used the paradigm of monocular deprivation and reverse occlusion. Kittens were implanted when 4-5 wk old. During the following 2 days, receptive-field properties of the recorded units were determined once under light ketamine anesthesia and repeatedly while the kittens were awake and only lightly restrained. Subsequently, one eye was patched, and the resulting changes in neuronal eye preference were followed by repeated measurements of response properties. For investigation of the effects of reverse occlusion, the deprived eye was opened and the previously open eye closed when the neurons had become unresponsive to the initially deprived eye. Alternatively, kittens were monocularly deprived for 1 wk by lid suture before implantation. The closed eye was then opened, the other eye patched, and the effects of reverse occlusion were studied for up to 1 wk by repeated measurements of receptive-field properties. 2. The earliest effect of monocular deprivation was the disappearance of binocular summation, i.e., binocular responses ceased to be superior over monocular responses. Overt changes of ocular dominance were observed as early as 6 h after the beginning of monocular deprivation. These consisted of a gradual decrease of the excitatory response to deprived eye stimulation and, on occasions, of an additional moderate increase of responses to the normal eye. A complete loss of excitatory responses to deprived-eye stimulation was seen as early as 12 h after occlusion. In numerous cells, however, stimulation of the deprived eye continued to evoke inhibitory responses even after excitatory responses had vanished completely. During this shift in ocularity, neurons preserved their orientation and direction selectively. 3. The minimal time required for the manifestation of ocular dominance changes was similar regardless of whether the animals were stimulated continuously or were asleep part of the time, suggesting the existence of an experience-independent consolidation period for ocular dominance changes. 4. The first change after reverse occlusion was a reduction of the response to the newly deprived eye. The time course of this inactivation was similar to that observed after initial deprivation, whereas the recovery of responses to the previously deprived eye had a considerably slower time course.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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