Paucity of horizontal connections for binocular vision in V1 of naturally strabismic macaques: Cytochrome oxidase compartment specificity

Lawrence Tychsen, Agnes Ming Fong Wong, Andreas Burkhalter

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To describe the structural basis for lack of binocular fusion in strabismic primates, we investigated intrinsic horizontal connections within striate cortex (area V1) of normal and strabismic, adult macaque monkeys. The strabismic animals had early-onset natural esotropia (the visual axes deviated nasally), normal visual acuity in each eye, and the constellation of ocular motor deficits that typify human infantile strabismus. Horizontal patchy connections and synaptic boutons were labeled by injections of the neuronal tracer biotinylated dextran amine. Ocular dominance columns (ODCs), and blob vs. interblob compartments, were revealed by using cytochrome oxidase (CO). In layers 2/3 and 4B of the strabismic monkeys, patchy projections and boutons terminated much more frequently in same-eye (73%) as opposed to opposite-eye (27%) ODCs (normal monkeys 58% and 42%, respectively). The deficiency of binocular connections in the strabismic cortex was evident qualitatively as a "skip" pattern, in which every other row of ODCs had labeled patches. Analysis of V1 in normal monkeys revealed that the deficits in strabismic V1 were due mainly to a loss of binocular connections between neurons in CO-interblob compartments. In both normal and strabismic monkeys: (1) CO-blob compartment neurons showed a more pronounced bias for monocular connectivity, and (2) commitment of connections to the same CO-compartment as the injection site (blob-to-blob, or interblob-to-interblob) was moderately strong (64%) but far from absolute. These findings help elucidate the relative roles of visual experience vs. innate mechanisms in the development of axonal connections between ocular dominance domains and compartments within macaque V1. They also provide the first detailed description of the V1 maldevelopments associated with unrepaired natural, infantile-onset strabismus in primates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-275
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 21 2004


  • Area V1
  • Binocular fusion
  • Congenital esotropia
  • Cytochrome oxidase blobs
  • Laminar connections


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