Visual Neuroscience

Analysis of the postnatal growth of visual cortex

a1 Department of Psychology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario L8S4K1, Canada
a2 Department of Biomedical Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario L8S4K1, Canada
a3 Department of Computer Science, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario L8S4K1, Canada


Development and growth of V1 begins during embryogenesis and continues postnatally. The growth of V1 has direct implications on the organization of features such as the retinotopic map and the pattern of visual cortical columns. We have examined the postnatal growth and two-dimensional shape of V1 in macaque monkeys, cats, and rats. The perimeter, area, and anterior–posterior length of V1 were measured from unfolded and flattened sections from neonatal and adult animals from each of these species. Although there were substantial differences in the overall amount of postnatal growth, from 18% in macaque monkeys to more than 100% in cats, in all three species the shape of V1 did not change during development. Thus, growth of the mammalian visual cortex is well described as an isotropic expansion, so the layout of the global features, such as the arrangement of ocular dominance columns and the retinotopic map, does not need to change during development. Furthermore, quantification of the shape confirms the observations that there is a similar, egg-like oval shape to the visual cortex of these mammalian species.

(Received October 20 1997)
(Accepted February 18 1998)

Key Words: Monkey; Cat; Rat; Visual cortex; Development; Shape; Growth.

c1 All correspondence and reprint requests to: Kathryn M. Murphy, McMaster University, Neural Organization & Plasticity Laboratory, Department of Psychology, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton Ontario L8S 4K1, Canada.