Ocular dominance in layer IV of the cat's visual cortex and the effects of monocular deprivation

J Physiol. 1978 Aug:281:267-83. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.1978.sp012421.


1. The relation between the physiological pattern of ocular dominance and the anatomical distribution of geniculocortical afferents serving each eye was studied in layer IV of the primary visual cortex of normal and monocularly deprived cats. 2. One eye was injected with radioactive label. After allowing sufficient time for transeuronal transport, micro-electrode recordings were made, and the geniculocoritcal afferents serving the injected eye were located autoradiographically. 3. In layer IV of normal cats, cell were clustered according to eye preference, and fewer cells were binocularly driven than in other layers. Points of transition between groups of cells dominated by one eye and those dominated by the other were marked with electrolytic lesions. A good correspondence was found between the location of cells dominated by the injected eye and the patches of radioactively labelled geniculocortical afferents. 4. Following prolonged early monocular deprivation, the patches of geniculocortical afferents in layer IV serving the deprived eye were smaller, and those serving the non-deprived eye larger, than normal. Again there was a coincidence between the patches of radioactively labelled afferents and the location of cells dominated by the injected eye. 5. The deprived eye was found to dominate a substantial fraction (22%) of cortical cells in the fourth layer. In other cortical layers, only 7% of the cells were dominated by the deprived eye. 6. These findings suggest that the thalamocortical projection is physically rearranged as a consequence of monocular deprivation, as has been demonstrated for layer IVc of the monkey's visual cortex (Hubel, Wiesel & Le Vay, 1977).

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoradiography
  • Cats
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology*
  • Eye / innervation
  • Geniculate Bodies / cytology
  • Geniculate Bodies / physiology
  • Neurons, Afferent / cytology
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology
  • Ocular Physiological Phenomena
  • Sensory Deprivation
  • Visual Cortex / cytology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*