How does cortex that normally processes inputs from one sensory modality respond when provided with input from a different modality? We have addressed such a question with an experimental preparation in which retinal input is routed to the auditory pathway in ferrets. Following neonatal surgical manipulations, a specific population of retinal ganglion cells is induced to innervate the auditory thalamus and provides visual input to cells in auditory cortex (Sur et al., 1988). We have now examined in detail the visual response properties of single cells in primary auditory cortex (A1) of these rewired animals and compared the responses to those in primary visual cortex (V1) of normal animals. Cells in A1 of rewired animals differed from cells in normal V1: they exhibited larger receptive field sizes and poorer visual responsivity, and responded with longer latencies to electrical stimulation of their inputs. However, striking similarities were also found. Like cells in normal V1, A1 cells in rewired animals exhibited orientation and direction selectivity and had simple and complex receptive field organizations. Furthermore, the degree of orientation and directional selectivity as well as the proportions of simple, complex, and nonoriented cells found in A1 and V1 were very similar. These results have significant implications for possible commonalities in intracortical processing circuits between sensory cortices, and for the role of inputs in specifying intracortical circuitry.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||14|
|Journal||Journal of Neuroscience|
|State||Published - 1992|
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