Are Connections Stable in the Adult Mammalian Brain?
One of the most striking aspects of sensory systems, which has been a repeated theme of this Conference, is the detail of maps contained within them. The visual system is a particularly impressive example but the auditory, somatosensory and other projection pathways also show an orderly spatial arrangement of cells and the axons which connect one group of cells to another. These maps have two features: 1) They retain some of the spatial relationships of the stimulus within the brain, so that the visual field is repeated in a neuronal form in retina, lateral geniculate and cortex. The maps may therefore transmit the information about the location of the stimulus. 2) A second possible function is that neighbouring cells tend to be handling very similar information and they are in an excellent anatomical position to interact with each other. The undoubted existence of such maps raises a number of challenging questions of some considerable importance. How are they formed during embryonic development? What is their function? Are they as rigid and exact as they appear?
KeywordsReceptive Field Sural Nerve Peripheral Stimulus Adult Mammalian Brain Orderly Spatial Arrangement
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