Suppression of metabolic activity caused by infantile strabismus and strabismic amblyopia in striate visual cortex of macaque monkeys

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Abstract

Introduction: Suppression is a major sensorial abnormality in humans and monkeys with infantile strabismus. We previously reported evidence of metabolic suppression in the visual cortex of strabismic macaques, using the mitochondrial enzyme cytochrome oxidase as an anatomic label. The purpose of this study was to further elucidate alterations in cortical metabolic activity, with or without amblyopia. Materials and methods: Six macaque monkeys were used in the experiments (four strabismic and two control). Three of the strabismic monkeys had naturally occurring, infantile strabismus (two esotropic, one exotropic). The fourth strabismic monkey had infantile microesotropia induced by alternating monocular occlusion in the first months of life. Ocular motor behaviors and visual acuity were tested after infancy in each animal, and development of stereopsis was recorded during infancy in one strabismic and one control monkey. Ocular dominance columns (ODCs) of the striate visual cortex (area V1) were labeled using cytochrome oxidase (CO) histochemistry alone, or CO in conjunction with an anterograde tracer ([H3]proline or WGA-HRP) injected into one eye. Results: Each of the strabismic monkeys showed inequalities of metabolic activity in ODCs of opposite ocularity, visible as rows of lighter CO staining, corresponding to ODCs of lower metabolic activity, alternating with rows of darker CO staining, corresponding to ODCs of higher metabolic activity. In monkeys who had infantile strabismus and unilateral amblyopia, lower metabolic activity was found in (suppressed) ODCs driven by the nondominant eye in each hemisphere. In monkeys who had infantile esotropia and alternating fixation (no amblyopia), metabolic activity was lower in ODCs driven by the ipsilateral eye in each hemisphere. The suppression included a monocular core zone at the center of ODCs and binocular border zones at the boundaries of ODCs. This suppression was not evident in the monocular lamina of the LGN, indicating an intracortical rather than subcortical mechanism. Conclusion: Suppression of metabolic activity in ODCs of V1 differs depending upon whether infantile strabismus is alternating or occurs in conjunction with unilateral amblyopia. Our findings reinforce the principle that unrepaired strabismus promotes abnormal competition in V1, observable as interocular suppression of ODCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-47
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of AAPOS
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2005

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