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Effects of neonatally induced strabismus on binocular responses in cat area 18

, : Effects of neonatally induced strabismus on binocular responses in cat area 18. Experimental Brain Research 53(2): 384-399

Responses to binocular visual stimulation were compared in cortical area 18 of normal cats and in cats in which one eye was exodeviated by surgery early in postnatal life. In contrast to normal cats where most units (58%) were binocularly activated, relatively few units (10%) in strabismic cats were activated well by stimulation of either eye. Rather individual units were driven mainly via one eye or the other but not both. In addition, there was a tendency for more units to be driven well via the unoperated eye than via the exodeviated eye. Fewer cells preferring vertically oriented than horizontally oriented stimuli were found in area 18 of strabismic cats. This trend was observed for cells driven by either the normal or deviated eye and was especially marked among the small number of binocularly activated cells. Generally binocular responses and binocular interactions were found with stimulation at corresponding retinal points. In a few striking instances, however, the receptive fields of binocular neurons were located on noncorresponding retinal points at loci which would enable the cat to correlate the two images of an external object despite the large divergent strabismus. Quantitative responses to binocular stimuli presented at varied disparities and to stimuli with varied directions of motion in depth were compared in normal and strabismic cats. Despite the large strabismus, a reduced fraction of cortical neurons displayed substantial binocular interactions. In fact, binocular facilitation was as marked in the population of cells studied in strabismic cats as it was in normal animals. The major effect of strabismus was a reduction in the strength of binocular inhibition when units were tested with sideways motion. Disparity-specific responses to motion toward or away from the organism were little affected by strabismus. The degree of binocular facilitation and binocular inhibition among the cell population was similar in normal and strabismic cats. A subpopulation of units encountered in strabismic cats showed strong disparity-specific interactions for motion toward or away from the animal without equivalent modulation for sideways moving stimuli. Units with these properties were not found in normal animals and may, therefore, represent a special adaptation of the strabismic animals.


PMID: 6705870

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