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Newer laboratory approaches for assessing visual dysfunction.

  • P G Shinkman
  • M R Isley
  • D C Rogers
Publication Date
Apr 01, 1982
  • Biology


The crucial point that will be emphasized throughout this report is the potential utility of analyzing visual cortical receptive field (RF) properties of the single-cell level as a sensitive and reliable neurotoxicity screening tool. Numerous studies employing exposure of kittens to altered visual environments during the critical period have demonstrated that particular classes of RFs can be selectively affected while sparing others. There has been a rapid proliferation of new methods used to investigate such effects. An important current trend involves the development of multidisciplinary combinations of approaches. The various maneuvers reviewed here seem adaptable to studying neurotoxic insult of the sensitive properties of cortical visual neurons, particularly in the cat or monkey. Conceivably, a general disruption of cortical RF properties might be expected following toxic exposure since individual RF properties are generally not determined by completely independent mechanisms. In fact, some toxicants might produce a general degradation of RF properties akin to the electrophysiological results reported for long-term dark rearing or binocular deprivation.

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