a1 Department of Psychology, Vanderbill University, Nashville
The middle temporal visual area, MT, is one of three major targets of the primary visual cortex, area 17, in primates. We assessed the contribution of area 17 connections to the responsiveness of area MT neurons to visual stimuli by first mapping the representation of the visual hemifield in MT of anesthetized owl monkeys with microelectrodes, ablating an electrophysiologically mapped part of area 17, and then immediately remapping MT. Before the lesions, neurons at recording sites throughout MT responded vigorously to moving slits of light and other visual stimuli. In addition, the relationship of receptive fields to recording sites revealed a systematic representation of the contralateral visual hemifield in MT, as reported previously for owl monkeys and other primates. The immediate effect of removing part of the retinotopic map in area 17 by gentle aspiration was to selectively deactivate the corresponding part of the visuotopic map in MT. Lesions of dorsomedial area 17 representing central and paracentral vision of the lower visual quadrant deactivated neurons in caudomedial MT formerly having receptive fields in the central and paracentral lower visual quadrant. Most neurons at recording sites throughout other parts of MT had normal levels of responsiveness to visual stimuli, and receptive-field locations that closely matched those before the lesion. However, neurons at a few sites along the margin of the deactivated zone of cortex had receptive fields that were slightly displaced from the region of vision affected by the lesion into other parts of the visual field, suggesting some degree of plasticity in the visual hemifield representation in MT. Subsequent histological examination of cortex confirmed that the lesions were confined to area 17 and the recordings were in MT. The results indicate that the visually evoked activity of neurons in MT of owl monkeys is highly dependent on inputs relayed directly or indirectly from area 17.
(Received November 22 1991)
(Accepted March 04 1992)
p1 Present address of Leah A. Krubitzer: Vision, Touch, and Hearing Research Center, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Queensland, Australia 4072.
Reprint requests to: Jon H. Kaas, Vanderbilt University, 301 David K. Wilson Hall, 111 21st Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37240, USA.