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J Neurophysiol. 1984 Mar;51(3):538-51.

Recovery from effects of brief monocular deprivation in the kitten.


The potential for recovery from the cortical effects of monocular deprivation (MD) was studied in kittens that were briefly deprived and then exposed to various periods of normal binocular vision. In eight kittens, recordings from the hemisphere ipsilateral to the deprived eye revealed that at 4 wk of age, exposure to 12 h of MD (six 2-h sessions spread over 2 days) was sufficient to cause a massive shift in the ocular dominance of striate cortex neurons in favor of the nondeprived eye. Six of these MD kittens were allowed 3 wk of normal binocular vision and then recorded from a second time to assess the extent to which their cortex could recover from the effects of this brief period of deprivation. Data from these animals indicated that now approximately equal numbers of cortical neurons were dominated by each eye and that, while the overall level of binocularity was somewhat lower than that found in normally reared animals, the majority of cells had regained functional binocular connections. The possibility that cortical binocularity could recover even further was explored by allowing four of these six MD kittens to experience an additional 4 wk of binocular vision and then recording from them a third time. These final recordings indicated that following a total of 7 wk of binocular vision, the level of cortical binocularity was no different from that found in normally reared animals. Having demonstrated that normal binocular function can be restored to a cortex in which it had been severely disrupted, we next attempted to characterize the earliest stages of this recovery process by examining the pattern of cortical binocularity in 10 MD kittens that were allowed to experience either 6 or 12 h of binocular vision (given over 1 or 2 days, respectively). Our results indicate that, during the initial day of binocular vision, recovery seems to involve a noncompetitive expansion of functional cortical input from the deprived eye, which joins with input from the nondeprived eye in driving cortical neurons. The level of cortical binocularity continues to increase during the next day of binocular vision, but now there is also a small increase in the proportion of cells driven exclusively by the initially deprived eye--suggesting that there may be an additional competitive component to the early stages of recovery. The results of this study complement our previous report of complete recovery of binocularity following exposure to a brief period of optically induced strabismus.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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