Abnormal development of kitten retino-geniculate connectivity in the absence of action potentials

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Science  20 Aug 1982:
Vol. 217, Issue 4561, pp. 743-745
DOI: 10.1126/science.7100921


Action potentials were silenced in one eye of neonatal kittens by repeated intraocular injections of tetrodotoxin for 5 to 8 weeks. After tetrodotoxin blockade was allowed to wear off, receptive field properties of individual relay cells in the lateral geniculate nucleus were examined. The many ON-OFF and binocular fields found in the layers that receive input from the treated eye suggest that these cells had extremely abnormal retino-geniculate synaptic connections. These effects were different in kind from those seen after deprivation rearing that does not silence action potentials. Lack of action potential activity was concluded to lead to abnormal development in the central nervous system.