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Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 75, Issue 1, pp 117–132 | Cite as

Changing patterns of binocular visual connections in the intertectal system during development of the frog, Xenopus laevis

II. Abnormalities following early visual deprivation
  • S. Grant
  • M. J. Keating
Article

Summary

During normal metamorphic and postmetamorphic growth of the frog, Xenopus laevis, there is a major and orderly remodelling of the pattern of neuronal connections in the intertectal system. These changes preserve the spatial registration of binocular visual inputs to each optic tectum in the face of continuous changes in relative eye alignment (Grant and Keating 1989). We suggested that visual experience might be utilised by the intertectal system to effect the maturational remodelling of its connections, with particular involvement in maintaining binocular visual registration. To investigate this suggestion we studied the development of the intertectal system in animals that had been reared in total darkness from before the onset of function in the system. Visual deprivation did not affect the developmental ocular migration that normally occurs in Xenopus, nor did it affect the maturation of the contralateral visuotectal projection. Abnormalities were, however, observed in the ipsilateral visuotectal projection of all dark-reared animals studied, reflecting perturbation of the underlying intertectal system. The abnormalities included disorder and deficits in the projection, which became more marked with age. Quantitative analyses of the spatial registration of binocular visual inputs to the optic tectum revealed that, in all dark-reared animals studied, registration was both significantly poorer and systematically shifted compared to normal controls. Analysis of maturational changes in the pattern of intertectal connections in visually-deprived animals led to the conclusion that intrinsic developmental processes generate an initially well-organised intertectal system and programme much of its continuous expansion with age. Visual experience, however, is necessary for the large scale and orderly remodelling of the system which, during normal maturation, preserves binocular visual registration despite changes in interocular alignment.

Key words

Amphibia Xenopus laevis Binocular visual field Optic tectum Development Intertectal connections Plasticity Dark-rearing 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Grant
    • 1
  • M. J. Keating
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Neurophysiology and NeuropharmacologyNational Institute for Medical ResearchLondonUK

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