The role of activity in development of the visual system

Curr Biol. 2002 Dec 10;12(23):R818-26. doi: 10.1016/s0960-9822(02)01318-0.


Neuronal activity is important for both the initial formation and the subsequent refinement of anatomical and physiological features of the mammalian visual system. Here we examine recent evidence concerning the role that spontaneous activity plays in axonal segregation, both of retinogeniculate afferents into eye-specific layers and of geniculocortical afferents into ocular dominance bands. We also assess the role of activity in the generation and plasticity of orientation selectivity in the primary visual cortex. Finally, we review recent challenges to textbook views on how inputs representing the two eyes interact during the critical period of visual cortical plasticity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology
  • Animals
  • Brain / embryology
  • Brain / physiology
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development
  • Ferrets
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Retina / embryology
  • Retina / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*