Stripe-rearing changes multiple aspects of the structure of primary visual cortex

Nicholas J. Hughes, Jonathan J. Hunt, Shaun L. Cloherty, Michael R. Ibbotson, Frank Sengpiel, Geoffrey J. Goodhill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


An important example of brain plasticity is the change in the structure of the orientation map in mammalian primary visual cortex in response to a visual environment consisting of stripes of one orientation. In principle there are many different ways in which the structure of a normal map could change to accommodate increased preference for one orientation. However, until now these changes have been characterised only by the relative sizes of the areas of primary visual cortex representing different orientations. Here we extend to the stripe-reared case a recently proposed Bayesian method for reconstructing orientation maps from intrinsic signal optical imaging data. We first formulated a suitable prior for the stripe-reared case, and developed an efficient method for maximising the marginal likelihood of the model in order to determine the optimal parameters. We then applied this to a set of orientation maps from normal and stripe-reared cats. This analysis revealed that several parameters of overall map structure, specifically the difference between wavelength, scaling and mean of the two vector components of maps, changed in response to stripe-rearing, which together give a more nuanced assessment of the effect of rearing condition on map structure than previous measures. Overall this work expands our understanding of the effects of the environment on brain structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-319
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • optical imaging
  • Gaussian processes
  • visual cortex
  • orientation preference maps
  • stripe-rearing

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