To quantify asymmetries of input from the two eyes into each cerebral hemisphere, we measured ocular dominance column (ODC) widths and areas in the striate visual cortex (area V1) of macaque monkeys. Ocular dominance stripes in layer 4C were labeled by using transneuronal transport of intraocularly injected wheat germ agglutinin-horseradish peroxidase (WGA-HRP) or cytochrome oxidase (CO) histochemistry, after deafferentation of one eye or even by leaving afferent input intact. In infant monkey aged 4 and 8 weeks, ocular dominance stripes labeled by WGA-HRP appeared adultlike with smooth, sharply defined borders. In normal infant and normal adult macaque, ocular dominance stripes driven by the nasal retina (i.e., contralateral eye) were consistently wider than stripes driven by the temporal retina (i.e., ipsilateral eye). Asymmetries in the percentage of area V1 driven by nasal vs. temporal ODCs showed a similar 'nasalbias': in infant macaque, approximately 58% of ODCs in V1 were driven by nasal retina, and in adult macaque approximately 57%. The asymmetries tended to be slightly smaller in opercular V1 and greater in calcarine V1. 'Spontaneous' ocular dominance stripes were revealed by CO staining of V1 in a naturally strabismic monkey and in a monkey made strabismic by early postnatal alternating monocular occlusion. In these animals, ocular dominance stripes and CO blobs corresponding to the nasal retina stained more intensely for CO in both the right and left V1. ODC spacing and the nasotemporal asymmetry in ODC width and area were similar in strabismic and normal monkeys. Our results in normal monkeys extend the observations of previous investigators and verify that nasotemporal inputs to opercular and calcarine V1 are unequal, with a consistent bias favoring inputs from the nasal retina. The CO results in strabismic macaque suggest that the nasal ODC bias promotes interocular suppression when activity in neighboring ODCs is decorrelated by abnormal binocular experience in infancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-46
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 10 1997


  • Alternate occlusion
  • Binocular vision
  • Geniculostriate visual pathway
  • Infantile esotropia
  • Striate cortex


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