A motion-sensitive area in ferret extrastriate visual cortex: an analysis in pigmented and albino animals

Cereb Cortex. 2006 Jun;16(6):779-90. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhj022. Epub 2005 Aug 31.


In search of the neuronal substrate for motion analysis in the ferret (Mustela putorius furo), we extracellularly recorded from extrastriate visual cortex in five pigmented and two albino ferrets under general anaesthesia and paralysis. Visual stimulation consisted of large area random dot patterns moving either on a circular path in the frontoparallel plane or expanding and contracting radially. Strongly direction-selective neurons were recorded in a circumscribed area in and just posterior to the suprasylvian sulcus, thus named by us the posterior suprasylvian area (area PSS). Altogether, we recorded 210 (90%) and 95 (72%) PSS neurons in pigmented and albino ferrets, respectively, that were direction selective. In these neurons responses during random dot pattern stimulation in the preferred direction were at least twice as strong than stimulation in the non-preferred direction. Response strength in preferred direction and tuning sharpness of PSS neurons in albinos were significantly reduced when compared to pigmented animals (median values: 34.1 versus 14.8 spikes/s and 142 versus 165 degrees for pigmented and albino ferrets, respectively). Inter-spike-intervals during visual stimulation were significantly shorter in pigmented (median 9 ms) than in albino PSS neurons (median 14 ms). Our data indicate that area PSS may play a crucial role in motion perception in the ferret.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials*
  • Albinism, Ocular / physiopathology*
  • Animals
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual
  • Female
  • Ferrets
  • Male
  • Motion Perception*
  • Nerve Net / physiopathology*
  • Neurons*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Pigmentation
  • Visual Cortex / physiopathology*