Development of the mammalian visual system is not complete at birth but continues postnatally well after eye opening. Although numerous studies have revealed changes in the development of the thalamus and visual cortex during this time, less is known about the development of response properties of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). Here, we mapped functional receptive fields of mouse RGCs using a Gaussian white noise checkerboard stimulus and a multielectrode array to record from retinas at eye opening, 3 days later, and 4 wk after birth, when visual responses are essentially mature. Over this time, the receptive field center size of ON and OFF RGC populations decreased. The average receptive field center size of ON RGCs was larger than that of OFF RGCs at eye opening, but they decreased to the same size in the adult. Firing properties were also immature at eye opening. RGCs had longer latencies, lower frequencies of firing, and lower sensitivity than in the adult. Hence, the dramatic maturation of the visual system during the first weeks of visual experience includes the retina.
- Multielectrode array
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