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The fovea regulates symmetrical development of the visual cortex

Neveu, Magella M., Von Dem Hagen, Elisabeth ORCID:, Morland, Antony B. and Jeffery, Glen 2008. The fovea regulates symmetrical development of the visual cortex. The Journal of Comparative Neurology 506 (5) , pp. 791-800. 10.1002/cne.21574

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The foveal region contains the highest cell density in the human retina; consequently a disproportionately large area of the visual cortex is dedicated to its representation. In aniridia and albinism the fovea does not develop, and the corresponding cortical representation shows a reduction in gray matter volume. In albinos there are chiasmatic irregularities in the hemispheric projections, which are not found in aniridics. Here, we ask whether the anomalies in central retinal development, present in albinism and aniridia, have a wider impact on the architecture of the visual cortex. The length, depth, and topology of the calcarine fissure is analyzed in albino, aniridic, and normal subjects. These measures are compared between groups and between the cortical hemispheres within each subject. We show that the calcarine fissure, where the primary visual cortex is represented, is abnormally short in those lacking a fovea. Moreover, surface reconstructions of the calcarine fissure revealed marked interhemispheric asymmetries. The two groups could not be distinguished on the basis of their cortical features, and we therefore interpret the abnormalities in cortical architecture in terms of the absence of the fovea, the common retinal feature found in both groups.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 0021-9967
Date of Acceptance: 22 October 2007
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2022 10:22

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