The visual physiology of the wild type mouse determined with pattern VEPs

Vittorio Porciatti, Tommaso Pizzorusso, Lamberto Maffei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

168 Scopus citations


Genetically manipulated mice are important tools for studies on plasticity and degeneration/regeneration in the visual system. However, a description of the basic properties of the visual performance of the wild type mouse is still lacking. To characterize the visual physiology of the wild type (C57BL/6J) mouse we recorded Visual Evoked Potentials (VEPs) from the primary visual cortex. As compared to behavioral methods, VEPs may have the advantage that different aspects of vision can be screened readily and simultaneously in the same animals, including those with poor visual behavior due to motor or learning deficits. Local VEP responses to patterned visual stimuli have been recorded from the binocular visual cortex of anesthetized mice. Spatial (visual acuity, contrast threshold) and temporal (temporal function, response latency, motion sensitivity) aspects of VEPs were evaluated. The mouse VEP acuity was 0.6 c/deg, which is comparable to the behavioral visual acuity. The VEP peak contrast threshold was 5% (no behavioral data are available). Cortical representation of visual coordinates and cortical magnification factor corresponded to those previously reported using single cell recordings. Laminar analysis of VEPs indicated a dipole source in the supragranular layers of the visual cortex as a major response generator. VEPs showed contribution from both eyes, although biased strongly towards the eye contralateral to the recorded cortex. Results provide a comprehensive framework for characterizing visual phenotypes of a variety of transgenic mice. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3071-3081
Number of pages11
JournalVision Research
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Mouse
  • Patterned visual stimuli
  • Visual cortex
  • Visual evoked potentials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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