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The development of spatial resolving power of lateral geniculate neurones in kittens

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The spatial resolving power and receptive field properties of ‘sustained’ cells in layers A and A1 of the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN), which received inputs from the area centralis of the retina in kittens of 3–16 weeks of age had been studied. The basic concentric organisation of receptive fields of ‘sustained’ LGN cells receiving inputs from the area centralis appeared to be already laid out at 3 weeks in kittens. Spatial resolving power of the cells determined using the highest spatial frequency of a sinusoidal grating resolved by cells as a measure of cellular visual acuity, however, developed gradually to the level of adult LGN cells during the sensitive period (3–12 weeks). Although this development occurred alongside the process of maturation of ocular alignment and the refractive state of the eyes, following the clearing of the embryonic vasculature of the ocular media from the 4th week onward, it depended on the enhancement of distinct inhibitory surround mechanisms taking place during the 6th–11th week. The course of development of spatial resolution of ‘sustained’ LGN cells receiving inputs from the area centralis of the retina runs parallel with the developmental curve of visual acuity in kittens obtained by visually evoked responses or by behavioural techniques by previous workers. The neural mechanisms which subserve high visual acuity are therefore already determined at the LGN before the inputs of the two eyes are mixed at the visual cortex.

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Ikeda, H., Tremain, K.E. The development of spatial resolving power of lateral geniculate neurones in kittens. Exp Brain Res 31, 193–206 (1978). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00237599

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Key words

  • Kitten LGN
  • Development
  • Visual acuity