Topographic organization of human visual areas in the absence of input from primary cortex

H A Baseler, A B Morland, B A Wandell

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Recently, there has been evidence for considerable plasticity in primary sensory areas of adult cortex. In this study, we asked to what extent topographical maps in human extrastriate areas reorganize after damage to a portion of primary visual (striate) cortex, V1. Functional magnetic resonance imaging signals were measured in a subject (G.Y.) with a large calcarine lesion that includes most of primary visual cortex but spares the foveal representation. When foveal stimulation was present, intact cortex in the lesioned occipital lobe exhibited conventional retinotopic organization. Several visual areas could be identified (V1, V2, V3, V3 accessory, and V4 ventral). However, when stimuli were restricted to the blind portion of the visual field, responses were found primarily in dorsal extrastriate areas. Furthermore, cortex that had formerly shown normal topography now represented only the visual field around the lower vertical meridian. Several possible sources for this reorganized activity are considered, including transcallosal connections, direct subcortical projections to extrastriate cortex, and residual inputs from V1 near the margin of the lesion. A scheme is described to explain how the reorganized signals could occur based on changes in the local neural connections.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2619-27
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of neuroscience
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Neural Pathways
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Occipital Lobe
  • Reference Values
  • Visual Cortex

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