Evidence for a Central Control of Developmental Plasticity in the Striate Cortex of Kittens

  • W. Singer
Part of the NATO Advanced Study Institutes Series book series (NSSA, volume 27)


It is well established that the functional organization of the mammalian visual cortex can be influenced by manipulating early visual experience. In the striate cortex of visually inexperienced cats and of cats raised with undisturbed binocular vision, the large majority of neurons are binocular and can be driven equally well from either eye (Hubel and Wiesel, 1962). When, however, vision is restricted to one eye during a critical period of early development, the afferents from the deprived eye lose the ability to excite cortical cells; most neurons become monocular and excitable only from the experienced eye (Wiesel and Hubel, 1963). Disruption of binocularity occurs also when binocular fusion is prevented, as it occurs, e.g., after surgically induced strabismus. Again, most neurons become monocular, but they remain excitable either from the right or the left eye (Hubel and Wiesel, 1965). These changes in neuronal circuitry are commonly attributed to competitive interactions between the afferents from the two eyes at their common cortical target cells (Wiesel and Hubel, 1965; Guillery, 1972; Cynader et al., 1977). Asymmetries in the activity of converging pathways are thought to lead to competitive suppression of the less efficient connections.


Striate Cortex Ocular Dominance Monocular Deprivation Binocular Interaction Retinal Signal 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Cynader, M., and D. E. Mitchell (1977). Monocular astigmatism effects on kitten visual cortex development. Nature 270:177–178.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Guillery, R. W. (1972). Binocular competition in the control of geniculate cell growth. J. Comp. Neurol. 144:117–127.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Holländer, H., and H. Vanegas (1977). The projection from the lateral geniculate nucleus onto the visual cortex in the cat. A quantitative study with horseradish peroxidase. J. Comp. Neurol. 173:519–536.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Hubel, D. H., and T. N. Wiesel (1962). Receptive fields, binocular interaction, and functional architecture in the cat’s visual cortex. J. Physiol. (Lond.) 160:106–154.Google Scholar
  5. Hubel D. H. and T. N. Wiesel 1965. Bicular interaction in striate cortex of kittens reared with artificial squint. 28:1041–1059.Google Scholar
  6. Maffei, L. (1978). Binocular interaction in strabismic kittens and adult cats deprived of vision. Arch. Ital. 116:390–392.Google Scholar
  7. Maffei, L., and S. Bisti (1976). Binocular interaction in strabismic kittens deprived of vision. Science 191:579–580.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Maffei, L., and A. Fiorentini (1976). Asymmetry of motility of the eyes and change of binocular properties of cortical cells in adult cats. Brain Res. 105:73–78.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Mitchell, D. E., F. Giffin, and B. Timney (1977). A behavioural technique for the rapid assessment of the visual capabilities of kittens. Perception 6:181–193.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Rauschecker, J., and W. Singer (1978). Changes in the circuitry of the kitten visual cortex are gated by postsynaptic activity. (Submitted to Nature).Google Scholar
  11. Sherman, S. M. (1972). Development of interocular alignment in cats. Brain Res. 37:187–203.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Singer, W. (1976). Modification of orientation and direction selectivity of cortical cells in kittens with monocular vision. Brain Res. 118:460–468.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Singer, W. (1977). Effects of monocular deprivation on excitatory and inhibitory pathways in cat striate cortex. Exp. Brain Res. 30:25–41.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Singer, W. (1979). Central-core control of visual cortex functions. In: The Neurosciences; 4. Study Program (in press).Google Scholar
  15. Singer, W., and F. Tretter (1976). Receptive field properties and neuronal connectivity in striate and parastriate cortex of contour-deprived cats. J. Neurophys. 39:613–630.Google Scholar
  16. Singer, W., J. Rauschecker, and R. Werth (1977). The effect of monocular exposure to temporal contrasts on ocular dominance in kittens. Brain Res. 134:568–572.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Singer, W., F. Tretter, and U. Yinon (1979a). Inverted monocular vision prevents ocular dominance shift in kittens and impairs the functional state of visual cortex in adult cats. Brain Res. 164:294–299.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Singer, W., F. Tretter, and U. Yinon (1979b). Inverted vision causes selective loss of striate cortex neurons with binocular, vertically oriented receptive fields (Brain Res., in press).Google Scholar
  19. Singer, W., M. v. Gruenau, and J. Rauschecker (1979c). Requirements for the disruption of binocularity in the visual cortex of strabismic kittens (in preparation).Google Scholar
  20. van Hof-van Duin, J. (1976). Early and permanent effects of monocular deprivation on pattern discrimination and visuomotor behavior in cats. Brain Res. 111:261–276.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Watkins, D. W., J. R. Wilson, and S. M. Sherman (1978). Receptive-field properties of neurons in binocular and monocular segments of striate cortex in cats raised with binocular lid suture. J. Neurophysiol. 41:322–337.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Wiesel, T. N., and D. H. Hubel (1963). Single-cell responses in striate cortex of kittens deprived of vision in one eye. J. Neurophysiol. 26:1003–1017.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Wiesel, T. N., and D. H. Hubel (1965). Comparison of the effects of unilateral and bilateral eye closure on cortical unit responses in kittens. J. Neurophysiol. 28:1029–1040.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Singer
    • 1
  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institut für PsychiatrieMunichWest Germany

Personalised recommendations