Cortical cells' physiology following visual split brain in developing cats

U. Yinon*, M. Chen, A. Milgram, S. Gelerstein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We have studied physiologically whether visual cortex cells in areas 17 and 18 of split-brain cats preserve their performance despite the blockage of both binocularity and of interhemispheric communication. The absolute majority of the cells in cats underwent split-brain surgery as kittens and adults and were driven by the ipsilateral eye, resulting in the absence of interhemispheric interaction. Similar results were found in cats and kittens that underwent only chiasm split surgery, although some recovery of callosal transfer was found in the latter. A remarkable loss of binocularity was found when only callosal transection was performed, both in adult cats and in kittens, although some ipsilateral eye dominance was observed in the latter. As to the deprived cats, while in the inexperienced hemisphere (ipsilateral to the deprived eye), the majority of the cells was visually unresponsive, in the contralateral (experienced) hemisphere, the majority was responsive. A considerable reduction in responsiveness was found in the callosally transected cats and kittens. Generally, a degradation of function was found in the various properties as a result of chiasmal and/or callosal transection. The main effect is the increased number of cells with diffuse and incomplete receptive fields. There was also a reduction in the proportion of orientation-selective cells, mainly in the split-brain cats. It was concluded that, despite the high amount of hemispheric independency in the normal brain, the integrity and simultaneous action of the two hemispheres are needed for the normal functioning of visual cortex cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553-571
Number of pages19
JournalBrain Research Bulletin
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1991


  • Cats
  • Developmental plasticity
  • Interhemispheric transfer
  • Single-cell recording
  • Split brain
  • Visual cortex


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