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Biochemistry - Neuroscience - Ophthalmology - Physiology

From Retinal Waves to Activity-Dependent Retinogeniculate Map Development
Published: Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Author: Jeffrey Markowitz et al.

by Jeffrey Markowitz, Yongqiang Cao, Stephen Grossberg

A neural model is described of how spontaneous retinal waves are formed in infant mammals, and how these waves organize activity-dependent development of a topographic map in the lateral geniculate nucleus, with connections from each eye segregated into separate anatomical layers. The model simulates the spontaneous behavior of starburst amacrine cells and retinal ganglion cells during the production of retinal waves during the first few weeks of mammalian postnatal development. It proposes how excitatory and inhibitory mechanisms within individual cells, such as Ca2+-activated K+ channels, and cAMP currents and signaling cascades, can modulate the spatiotemporal dynamics of waves, notably by controlling the after-hyperpolarization currents of starburst amacrine cells. Given the critical role of the geniculate map in the development of visual cortex, these results provide a foundation for analyzing the temporal dynamics whereby the visual cortex itself develops.