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Zoological Research
Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
ISSN: 2095-8137
Vol. 32, No. 5, 2011, pp. 533-539
Bioline Code: zr11076
Full paper language: Chinese
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

Zoological Research, Vol. 32, No. 5, 2011, pp. 533-539

 en Decreased contrast sensitivity of visual cortical cells to visual stimuli accompanies a reduction of intracortical inhibition in old cats
ZHOU, Jun; SHI, Xia-Ming; PENG, Qing-Song; HUA, Guo-Peng & HUA, Tian-Miao


Psychophysical experiments on human and animal subjects have proven that aged individuals show significantly reduced visual contrast sensitivity compared with young adults. To uncover the possible neural mechanisms, we used extracellular single-unit recording techniques to examine the response of V1 (primary visual cortex) neurons as a function of visual stimulus contrast in both old and young adult cats (Felis catus). The mean contrast sensitivity of V1 neurons to visual stimuli in old cats decreased significantly relative to young adult cats, consistent with findings reported in old primates. These results indicate that aging can affect contrast sensitivity of visual cortical cells in both primate and non-primate mammalian animals, and might contribute to the reduction of perceptual visual contrast sensitivity in aged individuals. Further, V1 cells of old cats exhibited increased responsiveness, decreased signal-to-noise ratio, and enlarged receptive field (RF) size compared with that of young adult cats, which indicated that decreased contrast sensitivity of V1 neurons accompanied a reduction of intracortical inhibition during senescence.

Contrast sensitivity, V1 neurons, Old cats, Young adult cats

© Copyright 2011 Kunming Institute of Zoology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences
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