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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 397176, 11 pages
Review Article

The Visual Callosal Connection: A Connection Like Any Other?

1Brain Institute, University of Rio Grande do Norte, Av. Nascimento de Castro 2155, 59056-450 Natal, RN, Brazil
2Max-Planck-Institute for Brain Research, Deutschordenstrasse 46, 60528 Frankfurt, Germany

Received 7 November 2012; Accepted 27 February 2013

Academic Editor: Maurice Ptito

Copyright © 2013 Kerstin E. Schmidt. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Recent work about the role of visual callosal connections in ferrets and cats is reviewed, and morphological and functional homologies between the lateral intrinsic and callosal network in early visual areas are discussed. Both networks selectively link distributed neuronal groups with similar response properties, and the actions exerted by callosal input reflect the functional topography of those networks. This supports the notion that callosal connections perpetuate the function of the lateral intrahemispheric circuit onto the other hemisphere. Reversible deactivation studies indicate that the main action of visual callosal input is a multiplicative shift of responses rather than a changing response selectivity. Both the gain of that action and its excitatory-inhibitory balance seem to be dynamically adapted to the feedforward drive by the visual stimulus onto primary visual cortex. Taken together anatomical and functional evidence from corticocortical and lateral circuits further leads to the conclusion that visual callosal connections share more features with lateral intrahemispheric connections on the same hierarchical level and less with feedback connections. I propose that experimental results about the callosal circuit in early visual areas can be interpreted with respect to lateral connectivity in general.