Published on behalf of the European Neuroscience Association by Oxford University Press
European Journal of Neuroscience vol:44 issue:5 pages:2165-2175
Neuronal activity plays an important role in the development and structural-functional maintenance of the brain as well as in its life-long plastic response to changes in sensory stimulation. We characterized the impact of unilateral 15° laser lesions in the temporal lower visual field of the retina, on visually-driven neuronal activity in the afferent visual pathway of adult mice using in situ hybridization for the activity reporter gene zif268. In the first days post lesion, we detected a discrete zone of reduced zif268 expression in the contralateral hemisphere, spanning the border between the monocular segment of the primary visual cortex (V1) with extrastriate visual area V2M. We could not detect a clear lesion projection zone (LPZ) in areas lateral to V1 whereas medial to V2M, areas RSA and RSG showed decreased zif268 levels over their full extent. All affected areas displayed a return to normal zif268 levels, and this faster in higher order visual areas than in V1. The lesion did however induce a permanent LPZ in the retinorecipient layers of the superior colliculus. We identified a retinotopy-based intrinsic capacity of adult mouse visual cortex to recover from restricted vision loss, with recovery speed reflecting the areal cortical magnification factor. Our observations predict incomplete visual field representations for areas lateral to V1 versus lack of retinotopic organization for areas medial to V2M. The validation of this mouse model paves the way for future interrogations of cortical region- and cell-type specific contributions to functional recovery, up to microcircuit level.