Representation of the visual field in the primary visual area of the marmoset monkey: magnification factors, point-image size, and proportionality to retinal ganglion cell density

Tristan A Chaplin, Hsin-Hao Yu, Marcello G Rosa

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44 Citations (Scopus)


The primary visual area (V1) forms a systematic map of the visual field, in which adjacent cell clusters represent adjacent points of visual space. A precise quantification of this map is key to understanding the anatomical relationships between neurones located in different stations of the visual pathway, as well as the neural bases of visual performance in different regions of the visual field. We used computational methods to quantify the visual topography of V1 in the marmoset (Callithrix jacchus), a small diurnal monkey. The receptive fields of neurones throughout V1 were mapped in 2 anaesthetized animals, using electrophysiological recordings. Following histological reconstruction, precise 3D reconstructions of the V1 surface and recording sites were generated. We found that the areal magnification factor (MA) decreases with eccentricity following a function that has the same slope as that observed in larger diurnal primates, including macaque, squirrel and capuchin monkeys, and humans. However, there was no systematic relationship between MA and polar angle. Despite individual variation in the shape of V1, the relationship between MA and eccentricity was preserved across cases. Comparison between V1 and the retinal ganglion cell density demonstrated preferential magnification of central space in the cortex. The size of the cortical compartment activated by a punctiform stimulus decreased from the foveal representation towards the peripheral representation. Nonetheless, the relationship between the receptive field sizes of V1 cells and the density of ganglion cells suggested that each V1 cell receives information from a similar number of retinal neurones, throughout the visual field.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1001 - 1009
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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