Response properties in the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus of the adult cat after interruption of prenatal binocular interactions

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Neurophysiology








Single-cell recordings were made in the magnocellular layer of the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (dLGN) of five adult cats in which prenatal binocular interactions were interrupted by monocular enucleation at known gestational ages. Three cats (early enucleates) had one eye removed on either embryonic day 44, 48, or 49, before retinogeniculate inputs are segregated into uniocular layers. Two others (late enucleates) underwent this procedure on embryonic days 55 and 58, when segregation is well advanced. Responses were compared with those obtained from recordings in the A and A1 layers of the dLGN of seven normal adult cats. Cells were classified as ON or OFF by the use of spots of light and as X or Y based on a test of linearity of spatial summation with the use of counterphased sinusoidal gratings. Receptive-field size an spatial resolution were also obtained. The dLGN of prenatally enucleated cats contains a dorsal magnocellular layer and a ventral parvocellular layer. In early enucleates, only an occasional hint of a cell-sparse interlaminar zone was apparent, located between the magnocellular and parvocellular layers. In late enucleates, a prominent cell-sparse band was observed contralateral to the remaining eye, in a region that would most likely correspond to layer A1 in the normal dLGN. No such cell-sparse band was seen ipsilateral to the remaining eye in late enucleates. Eighty-six X cells and 22 Y cells were studied in the enucleates. Both cell types were found at all depths of the magnocellular layer. All but a few neurons had concentric ON-center or OFF-center receptive fields that were normal in size. The topography of receptive fields also appeared normal. In addition, spatial resolution of X and Y cells was similar in experimental and control animals. In early enucleates, there was a higher percentage of X cells and a lower percentage of Y cells than normal. The change in X-to-Y ratio was shown to be because of both a gain in cells with X properties and a loss of cells with Y properties. The distribution of dLGN somal sizes in the early enucleates was comparable with controls, so the change in X-to-Y ratio most likely did not result from an electrode sampling bias. It was suggested that the X-to-Y ratio difference could stem from the abnormalities in retinogeniculate terminal arbors that have been shown to follow early eye removal. In summary, the results show that, other than a change in X-to-Y ratio in the early enucleates, the functional organization of the dLGN develops normally after prenatal binoculr interactions are interrupted by monocular enucleation. This was surprising given the dramatic anatomic changes that occur in the dLGN of prenatal enucleates and the fact that the remaining eye of enucleates innervates roughly twice as much geniculate territory as normal. These findings indicate that binocular interactions at embryonic day 44 and later have relatively litte bearing on development of orderly, functional retinogeniculate connections.

This document is currently not available here.