Experimental Manipulations of the Development of Ordered Projections in the Mammalian Brain

  • Barbara L. Finlay
Part of the NATO Advanced Study Institutes Series book series (NSSA, volume 27)


The ordered representation of the retina in the tectum of hamsters can be influenced by experimental manipulation of factors intrinsic to the developmental process, such as the direction and timing of arrival of retinal fibers. The orientation of the retinotopic map in the tectum with respect to the neural axes, the amount of representation of retinal subareas on the tectal surface, and the laminar specificity of retinal terminals in tectum are differentially affected by these developmental factors.

If the amount of tectal tissue is reduced at birth in hamster by a large amount, only a portion of visual field comes to be represented. The area of visual field represented is in every case lower nasal visual field, regardless of whether caudal, rostrolateral, central, or superficial tectal tissue is removed. This asymmetry in surface representation is also reflected in the laminar distribution of retinal fibers in the tectum. A source for the inhoniogeneity in visual field representation may be direction of optic tract arrival in tectum, which begins at the rostrolateral margin of the tectum, where lower nasal visual field is represented.

The polarity of the retinotopic map in tectum—its orientation with respect to the neural axes—may be dissociated from direction of fiber arrival, for if fibers are induced to enter the tectum medially, opposite to their normal entry point, a retinotopic map of normal order and polarity develops. Classes of mechanisms that account for both of these observations are discussed.


Visual Field Superior Colliculus Receptive Field Size Visual Receptive Field Electrode Penetration 
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. Attardi, D. G., and R. W. Sperry (1963). Preferential selection of central pathways of regenerating optic fibers. Exp. Neurol. 7:46–64.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bunt, S. M., and T. J. Horder (1977). A proposal regarding the significance of simple mechanical events such as the development of the choroid fissure, in the organization of central visual connections. J. Physiol. (Lond.) 272:10–11.Google Scholar
  3. Chung, S. H., and Cooke (1975). Polarity of structure and of ordered nerve connections in the developing amphibian brain. Nature (Lond.) 258:126–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cunningham, T. J. (1976). Early eye removal produces excessive bilateral branching in the rat: application of cobalt filling method. Science 194:857–859.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Drager, U. C., and D. H. Hubel (1975). Responses to visual stimulation and relationship between visual, auditory and somatosensory units in mouse superior colliculus. J. Neurophysiol. 39:690–713.Google Scholar
  6. Finlay, B. L. (1976). Neuronal specificity and plasticity in hamster superior colliculus: electrophysiological studies. Doctoral dissertation, Department of Psychology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.Google Scholar
  7. Finlay, B. L., S. E. Schneps, K. G. Wilson, and G. E. Schneider (1978). Topography of visual and somatosensory projections to the superior colliculus of the golden hamster. Brain Res. 142:223–235.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Finlay, B. L., and K. F. So (1979). Altered retinotectal topography in hamsters with neonatal tectal slits. Neuroscience (in press).Google Scholar
  9. Finlay, B. L., K. G. Wilson, and G. E. Schneider (1979). Anomalous ipsilateral retinotectal projections in hamsters with early lesions: topography and functional capacity. J. Comp. Neurol. 183:721–740.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Frost, D. O. (1975). Factors influencing the development and plasticity of retinal projections in the Syrian hamster. Doctoral dissertation, Department of Psychology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.Google Scholar
  11. Gaze, R. M. (1970). The Formation of Nerve Connections. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  12. Hope, R. A., B. J. Hammond, and R. M. Gaze (1976). The arrow model: retinotectal specificity and map formation in the goldfish visual system. Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B 194:447–466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hunt, R. K., and M. Jacobson (1973). Specification of positional information in retinal ganglion cells of Xenopus Assays for analysis of the unspecified state. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA) 70:507–511.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Jhaveri, S. R., and G. E. Schneider (1974). Retinal projections in Syrian hamsters: normal topography and alterations after partial tectum lesions at birth. Anat. Rec. 178:383.Google Scholar
  15. LaVail, J. H., and W. M. Cowan (1971). The development of the chick optic tectum. I. Normal morphology and cytoarchitectonic development. Brain Res. 28:391–419.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lopresti, V., R. E. Macagno, and C. Levinthal (1973). Structure and development of neuronal connections in isogenic organisms: Cellular interactions in the development of the optic lamina of Daphnia Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA) 70:433–437.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lund, R. D. (1978). Development and Plasticity of the Brain. Oxford University Press, London.Google Scholar
  18. Meyer, R. L. (1977). Eye-in-water mapping of goldfish with and without tectal lesions. Exp. Neurol. 56:23–41.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Meyer, R. L., and R. W. Sperry (1976). Retinotectal specificity: Chemoaffinity theory. In: Studies on the development of behavior and the nervous system, Vol. 3, Neural and behavioral specificity. G. Gottlieb (ed.). Academic Press, New York, pp. 111–149.Google Scholar
  20. Prestige, M. C., and D. H. Willshaw (1975). On a role for competition in the formation of patterned neural connexions. Proc. Roy. Soc. B 190:77–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Rakic, P. (1977). Prenatal development of the visual system in rhesus monkey. Phil. Trans. B 278:245–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Schneider, G. E. (1973). Early lesions of the superior colliculus: factors affecting the formation of abnormal retinal projections. Brain Behav. Evol. 8:73–109.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. So, K. F., G. E. Schneider, and D. O. Frost (1977). Normal development of the retinofugal projections in Syrian hamsters. Anat. Rec. 187:719.Google Scholar
  24. Straznicky, K., and R. M. Gaze (1971). The growth of the retina in Xenopus laevis: An autoradiographic study. J. Embryol. Exp. Morphol. 26:67–79.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Straznicky, K., and R. M. Gaze (1972). The growth of the tectum in Xenopus laevis: An autoradiographic study. J. Embryol. Exp. Morphol. 28:87–115.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Wolpert, L. (1971). Positional information and pattern formation. Curr. Top. Develop. Biol. 6:183–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara L. Finlay
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

Personalised recommendations