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J Physiol. 1974 Feb;237(1):195-216.

Reversal of the physiological effects of monocular deprivation in kittens: further evidence for a sensitive period.


1. It was confirmed that suturing the lids of one eye (monocular deprivation), until only 5 weeks of age, leaves virtually every neurone in the kitten's visual cortex entirely dominated by the other eye. On the other hand, deprivation of both eyes causes no change in the normal ocular dominance of cortical neurones, most cells being clearly binocularly driven.2. Kittens were monocularly deprived until various ages, from 5 to 14 weeks, at which time reverse suturing was performed: the initially deprived right eye was opened and the left eye closed for a further 9 weeks before recording from the visual cortex.3. Reverse suturing at 5 weeks caused a complete switch in ocular dominance: every cell was dominated by the initially deprived right eye. Reverse suturing at 14 weeks, however, had almost no further effect on ocular dominance: most cells were still driven solely by the left eye. Animals reverse sutured at intermediate ages had cortical neurones strongly dominated by one eye or the other, and they were organized into clear columnar groups according to ocular dominance.4. Thus, between 5 weeks and 4 months of age, there is a period of declining sensitivity to both the effects of an initial period of monocular deprivation and the reversal of those effects by reverse suturing.5. The small proportion of binocular cells in reverse sutured kittens (which have never had simultaneous binocular vision) often differed considerably in their receptive field properties in the two eyes. In particular, if the cells were orientation selective in both eyes the two preferred orientations could differ by up to 70 degrees .6. The relative importance of innate and environmental contributions to the properties of cortical cells is discussed.

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