Retinogeniculate Development: The Role of Competition and Correlated Retinal Activity

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 4 (NIPS 1991)

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Ron Keesing, David Stork, Carla Shatz


During visual development, projections from retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) to the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) in cat are refined to produce ocular dominance layering and precise topographic mapping. Normal development depends upon activity in RGCs, suggesting a key role for activity-dependent synaptic plasticity. Recent experiments on prenatal retina show that during early development, "waves" of activity pass across RGCs (Meister, et aI., 1991). We provide the first simulations to demonstrate that such retinal waves, in conjunction with Hebbian synaptic competition and early arrival of contralateral axons, can account for observed patterns of retinogeniculate projections in normal and experimentally-treated animals.