The effects of neonatal monocular enucleation (right eye) on the callosal connections in the rat visual cortex were studied by physiological and morphological methods. Evoked activity was recorded in the left hemisphere, i.e. contralaterally to the enucleated eye. After enucleation, trans-callosally evoked responses were recorded in a widened stripe of the lateral visual cortex. Compared with the controls, the responsive area was expanded laterally and medially, i.e. into the lateral part of the primary visual area and within the secondary visual cortex (lateral part). Within about 0.5 mm of the expansion, the responses did not differ from those recorded in areas with "normal" callosal connections. Morphological evidence is presented suggesting that this expansion of evoked responses with high amplitudes and short latencies corresponds to an extension of callosal connections with a high density of axon terminals in layers two and three. Further medially within the primary visual cortex, callosally evoked responses with low amplitudes and longer latencies were recorded. The main types of unit responses and characteristic interactions between visually and callosally evoked responses are shown and discussed. These results suggest that following neonatal enucleation 1. (1) the callosal connections expand and form functional synapses in the lateral part of the visual cortex, 2. (2) these connections can activate cortical neurons either directly or by mediation of associational connections between the lateral secondary and primary visual cortex areas and 3. (3) callosal connections can interact with visually evoked potentials and unit responses.
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