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Exp Brain Res. 1994;99(3):399-410.

Comparison of receptive field properties of neurons in area 17 of normal and bilaterally amblyopic cats.

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1
Department of Ophthalmology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

Abstract

Receptive field properties of extracellularly recorded units in the visual cortex (area 17) of cats made bilaterally amblyopic by a variety of rearing conditions were measured and compared with the properties of units in normal cats. Properties studied included sensitivity to vernier offset, response facilitation to increasing bar length, receptive field size, responsiveness to moving and flashed stimuli, orientation tuning, the relation between mean firing rate and its variance, the amount of overlap of regions of on and off responsiveness in simple and complex cells, and, for flashed stimuli, latency to response onset, time to peak response, and response decay time constant. Behavioural testing of the amblyopic animals showed that spatial resolution was 2-4 times lower and vernier acuity thresholds 10-20 times greater than normal. Despite this, several neuronal response properties did not differ significantly from those in normal animals. These included peak responsiveness to moving stimuli, widths of orientation tuning curves, response variability, and latency to initial response for flashed stimuli. Other properties showed small but significant changes. Sensitivity to vernier offset (impulses per degree of offset) was reduced to nearly half its normal level; receptive field sizes increased by about 24% and an incomplete segregation of regions of on and off responsiveness was found in some cells, which made them hard to classify as simple or complex. Responses to flashed stimuli were smaller and more persistent. Their statistical significance notwithstanding, it seems unlikely that these relatively small response abnormalities in area 17 can fully account for the observed behavioural deficits.

PMID:
7957719
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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