Neuroscience and Behavioral Physiology

, Volume 38, Issue 8, pp 849–853 | Cite as

Some aspects of the modular organization of the primary visual cortex of the cat: Patterns of cytochrome oxidase activity

  • N. S. Merkul’eva
  • F. N. Makarov


The distribution of the enzyme cytochrome oxidase (CO) in continuous series of parasagittal sections from field 17 and frontal sections of the dorsal nucleus of the lateral geniculate body (LGB) from normal kittens and adult cats was studied. In all cats apart from neonates, layer IV showed regularly alternating areas with above-background levels of CO activity (“spots”). There was a significant increase in the contrast of the “spots” from days 13 to 21, which was followed by a significant decrease from days 48 to 93. These changes coincided with ontogenetic changes in the level of visual system plasticity. There were no differences in CO activity between layers A and A1 of the dorsal nucleus of the LGB. It is suggested that the non-uniform distribution of the level of functional activity of neurons in field 17 reflects the formation of columnar cortical structures during the critical period of postnatal ontogenesis.

Key words

visual cortex field 17 dorsal nucleus of the lateral geniculate body cytochrome oxidase critical period of development 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. S. Merkul’eva
    • 1
  • F. N. Makarov
    • 1
  1. 1.Neuromorphology Laboratory (Director: Doctor of Medical Sciences F. N. Makarov), I. P. Pavlov Institute of PhysiologyRussian Academy of SciencesSt. PetersburgRussia

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