Expansion of the half retinal projection to the tectum in goldfish: an electrophysiological and anatomical study

J Comp Neurol. 1978 Jan 15;177(2):257-77. doi: 10.1002/cne.901770206.


The topographical retino-tectal projection of goldfish was electrophysiologically mapped at various intervals after surgical removal of the nasal half of the retina and pigment epithelium. The remaining projection was initially restricted to the appropriate rostral half of the tectum, even if the nerve was crushed and allowed to regenerate. But later, after 137 days or more, it showed a progressive expansion onto the foreign caudal half of the tectum. The magnification factor, the number of micrometers of tectum per degree in the visual field, doubled in the rostro-caudal but not in the medio-lateral direction. Analysis of the sequence of the expansion showed that a few fibers originally projecting nearest the denervated area were the first to spread over it. Then, progressively more fibers moved caudally until a nearly uniform representation of the half retina was established on the tectum. Radioautography also demonstrated that retinal fiber terminals had invaded the caudal tectum. The retinae of these fish were also examined histologically. The density of ganglion cells had not increased, but they consistently showed the axonal reaction. This was not found to be associated with any initial surgical trauma, but rather with the movement of their fiber terminals within the tectum. Frozen sections through half retinal and normal eyes, were cut and photographed for comparison of ocular geometry. Operated eyes were normal except for a slight but consistent loss of ocular volume. Analysis of the optical geometry showed that recording with fish in air produced two effects: Myopia (10 degrees blur circle, or less) and enlargement of the visual field by 15 percent to 20 percent.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoradiography
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cell Nucleolus
  • Cell Nucleus / ultrastructure
  • Cyprinidae / anatomy & histology*
  • Electrophysiology
  • Goldfish / anatomy & histology*
  • Neurons / ultrastructure
  • Retina / anatomy & histology*
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retina / physiology
  • Superior Colliculi / anatomy & histology*
  • Superior Colliculi / physiology
  • Visual Fields
  • Visual Pathways
  • Visual Perception / physiology