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Title: Ordering geniculate input into primary visual cortex
Author: Krug, Kristine
ISNI:       0000 0001 2433 6308
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1997
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Precise point-to-point connectivity is the basis of ordered maps of the visual field in the brain. One point in the visual field is represented at one locus in the dLGN and one locus in primary visual cortex. A fundamental problem in the development of most sensory systems is the creation of the topographic projections which underlie these maps. Mechanisms ranging from ordered ingrowth of fibres, through chemical guidance of axons to sculpting of the map from an early exuberant input have been proposed. However, we know little about how ordered maps are created beyond the first relay. What we do know is that a topological mismatch requires the exchange of neighbours in the geniculo-cortical projection and that manipulating the input to the primary relay can affect the geniculo-cortical topography. Taking advantage of the immaturity of the newborn hamster’s visual system, I studied the generation of an ordered map in primary visual cortex during the time of target innervation in normal and manipulated animals. I also investigated the patterning of neuronal activity prior to natural eye-opening. Paired injections of retrograde fluorescent tracers into visual cortex reveal that geniculate fibres are highly disordered at the time of invasion of the cortical plate. Topography in the geniculo-cortical projection emerges out of an unordered projection to area 17 in the first postnatal week. Furthermore, I show that manipulating the peripheral input can alter the topographic map which arises out of the early scatter. Removal of one eye at birth appears to slow the process of geniculo-cortical map formation ipsilateral to the remaining eye and at the end of the second postnatal week, a double projection between thalamus and cortex has formed. If retinal activity is blocked during this time, this double projection does not emerge. The results implicate retinal activity as the signal that induces the development of a different topographic order in the geniculo-cortical projection. It is generally believed that visual experience can influence development only after eye-opening. However, the final part of my thesis shows that neurons in the developing visual cortex of the ferret can not only be visually driven at least 10 days before natural eye-opening, but are also selective for differently oriented gratings presented through the closed eye-lid. Thus, visually-driven neuronal activity could influence development much earlier than previously assumed in many developmental studies.
Supervisor: Thompson, Ian Sponsor: Wellcome Trust ; Studienstiftung
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Neural circuitry ; Visual cortex--Physiology ; cortex ; primary ; geniculate ; visual