Postnatal Development of Visual Cortical Function in the Mammalian Brain

Front Syst Neurosci. 2020 Jun 9;14:29. doi: 10.3389/fnsys.2020.00029. eCollection 2020.


This review aims to discuss (1) the refinement of mammalian visual cortical circuits and the maturation of visual functions they subserve in primary visual cortex (V1) and other visual cortical areas, and (2) existing evidence supporting the notion of differential rates of maturation of visual functions in different species. It is well known that different visual functions and their underlying circuitry mature and attain adultlike characteristics at different stages in postnatal development with varying growth rates. The developmental timecourse and duration of refinement varies significantly both in V1 of various species and among different visual cortical areas; while basic visual functions like spatial acuity mature earlier requiring less time, higher form perception such as contour integration is more complex and requires longer postnatal time to refine. This review will highlight the importance of systematic comparative analysis of the differential rates of refinement of visual circuitry and function as that may help reveal underlying key mechanisms necessary for healthy visual development during infancy and adulthood. This type of approach will help future studies to establish direct links between various developmental aspects of different visual cortical areas in both human and animal models; thus enhancing our understanding of vision related neurological disorders and their potential therapeutic remedies.

Keywords: brain development; ferret; human; maturation; monkey; refinement; visual function.

Publication types

  • Review