Abstract

Within the visual cortex, it has been proposed that interhemispheric interactions serve to re-establish the continuity of the visual field across its vertical meridian (VM) by mechanisms similar to those used by intrinsic connections within a hemisphere. However, other specific functions of transcallosal projections have also been proposed, including contributing to disparity tuning and depth perception. Here, we consider whether interhemispheric connections modulate specific response properties, orientation and direction selectivity, of neurons in areas 17 and 18 of the ferret by combining reversible thermal deactivation in one hemisphere with optical imaging of intrinsic signals and single-cell electrophysiology in the other hemisphere. We found interhemispheric influences on both the strength and specificity of the responses to stimulus orientation and direction of motion, predominantly at the VM. However, neurons and domains preferring cardinal contours, in particular vertical contours, seem to receive stronger interhemispheric input than others. This finding is compatible with interhemispheric connections being involved in horizontal disparity tuning. In conclusion, our results support the view that interhemispheric interactions mainly perform integrative functions similar to those of connections intrinsic to one hemisphere.

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