A role for extraocular afferents in post-critical period reversal of monocular deprivation. Academic Article uri icon


  • 1. In order to investigate the phenomenon of acute reversibility of cortical ocular dominance, pressure block of the retinal ganglion cells and local anaesthetic block of the extraocular afferents were applied to the normal eye of six monocularly deprived cats. 2. Neither pressure blinding nor retrobulbar anaesthesia alone produced a significant increase in the proportion of single neurones recorded from area 17 which could be driven by the deprived eye. 3. Following combined pressure blinding and retrobulbar blockade, sixty-four cells (54% of all encountered) could be stimulated through the deprived eye. 4. Of the sixty-four cells driven by the deprived eye following both treatments a number showed direction (thirty) and orientation (thirteen) selectivity, but the majority showed non-specific receptive field properties. 5. In four separate cases, out of the nine where the experiment could be carried out, it was possible to observe an individual neurone shift its ocular dominance. In the presence of a retrobulbar block, the four neurones could be driven first by the experienced eye alone, then by the deprived eye alone, and finally by the experienced eye again, all within a few minutes of the introduction and removal of pressure blinding. 6. These findings support previous studies which have revealed the presence of significant numbers of potentially functional cortical inputs from the deprived eye. Our new finding is that removal of tonic activity from the experienced eye, while it seems to be necessary to reveal these inputs, is not sufficient. An additional role in this phenomenon is played by extraocular afferents, possibly those involved in proprioception from the eye muscles.

publication date

  • September 1, 1978