, Volume 142, Issue 4, pp 463-474

Restoration of visual orienting into a cortically blind hemifield by reversible deactivation of posterior parietal cortex or the superior colliculus

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A contralateral hemineglect of the visual field can be induced by unilateral cooling deactivation of posterior middle suprasylvian (pMS) sulcal cortex of the posterior parietal region, and this neglect can be reversed by additional cooling deactivation of pMS cortex in the opposite hemisphere. The purpose of the present study was to test whether an enduring hemianopia induced by removal of all contiguous visual cortical areas of one hemisphere could be reversed by local cooling of pMS cortex in the opposite hemisphere. Two cats sustained large unilateral ablations of the contiguous visual areas, and cooling loops were placed in the pMS sulcus, and in contact with adjacent area 7 or posterior ectosylvian (PE) cortex of the opposite hemisphere. In both instances cooling of pMS cortex, but neither area 7 nor PE, restored a virtually normal level of orienting performance to stimuli presented anywhere in the previously hemianopic field. The reversal was highly sensitive to the extent of cooling deactivation. In a third cat, cooling deactivation of the superficial layers of the contralateral superior colliculus also restored orienting performance to a cortical ablation-induced hemianopia. This reversal was graded from center-to-periphery in a temperature-dependent manner. Neither the cortical ablation nor any of the cooling deactivations had any impact on an auditory detection and orienting task. The deactivations were localized and confirmed by reduced uptake of radiolabeled 2-deoxyglucose to be limited to the immediate vicinity of each cooling loop. The results are discussed in terms of excitation and disinhibition of visual circuits.

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