Neuronal Responses in Visual Area V2 (V2) of Macaque Monkeys with Strabismic Amblyopia

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Amblyopia, a developmental disorder of spatial vision, is thought to result from a cascade of cortical deficits over several processing stages beginning at the primary visual cortex (V1). However, beyond V1, little is known about how cortical development limits the visual performance of amblyopic primates. We quantitatively analyzed the monocular and binocular responses of V1 and V2 neurons in a group of strabismic monkeys exhibiting varying depths of amblyopia. Unlike in V1, the relative effectiveness of the affected eye to drive V2 neurons was drastically reduced in the amblyopic monkeys. The spatial resolution and the orientation bias of V2, but not V1, neurons were subnormal for the affected eyes. Binocular suppression was robust in both cortical areas, and the magnitude of suppression in individual monkeys was correlated with the depth of their amblyopia. These results suggest that the reduced functional connections beyond V1 and the subnormal spatial filter properties of V2 neurons might have substantially limited the sensitivity of the amblyopic eyes and that interocular suppression was likely to have played a key role in the observed alterations of V2 responses and the emergence of amblyopia.

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