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Keywords:

  • guidance cues;
  • marmoset monkey;
  • lateral geniculate nucleus;
  • primary visual cortex;
  • ephrins;
  • immunohistochemistry

Abstract

The molecular guidance cue ephrin-B1 has traditionally been associated with the early development of the visual system, encompassing retinocollicular mapping as well as development and maturation of synapses. Although little is known about its role in the visual system during the postnatal period and in adulthood, recent studies have demonstrated the expression of ephrin-B1 in the adult mouse brain, indicating a sustained role beyond early development. Therefore, we explored the spatiotemporal expression of ephrin-B1 in the postnatal and adult nonhuman primate visual system and demonstrated that a modulated expression continued following birth into adulthood in the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) and primary visual cortex (V1, striate cortex). This occurred in the layers involved in bidirectional geniculostriate communication: layers 3Bβ, 4, and 6 of V1 and the parvocellular (P) and magnocellular (M) layers of the LGN. Furthermore, discrete gradients between the ipsi- and contralateral inputs of the P and M layers of the LGN evolved between 1 month following birth and the start of the critical period (3 months), and continued into adulthood. We also detected the postsynaptic expression of ephrin-B1 by excitatory cells in adult LGN and V1 and a subset of interneurons in adult V1, suggestive of a more global rather than subtype-specific role. Together these results suggest a possible role for ephrin-B1 in the maturation of the primate retinogeniculostriate pathway throughout postnatal life, extending into adulthood. J. Comp. Neurol. 520:2941–2956, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.