Coexistence of linear zones and pinwheels within orientation maps in cat visual cortex

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 May 9;97(10):5568-73. doi: 10.1073/pnas.97.10.5568.


Revealing the layout of cortical maps is important both for understanding the processes involved in their development and for uncovering the mechanisms underlying neural computation. The typical organization of orientation maps in the cat visual cortex is radial; complete orientation cycles are mapped around orientation singularities. In contrast, long linear zones of orientation representation have been detected in the primary visual cortex of the tree shrew. In this study, we searched for the existence of long linear sequences and wide linear zones within orientation preference maps of the cat visual cortex. Optical imaging based on intrinsic signals was used. Long linear sequences and wide linear zones of preferred orientation were occasionally detected along the border between areas 17 and 18, as well as within area 18. Adjacent zones of distinct radial and linear organizations were observed across area 18 of a single hemisphere. However, radial and linear organizations were not necessarily segregated; long (7.5 mm) linear sequences of preferred orientation were found embedded within a typical pinwheel-like organization of orientation. We conclude that, although the radial organization is dominant, perfectly linear organization may develop and perform the processing related to orientation in the cat visual cortex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cats
  • Form Perception*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Orientation
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*