Recent studies show that a reduced effect of inhibitory transmitter system in the visual cortex may underlie aged visual function degradation. Whether excitatory transmitter system changes with age and hence affects intracortical excitation-inhibition balance is not clear. To explore this issue, we used Nissl staining and immunohistochemical methods as well as Image-Pro Express software to examine the density of Nissl-stained neurons, Glutamic acid-immunoreactive (Glu-IR) neurons and γ-Aminobutyric acid-immunoreactive (GABA-IR) neurons in the primary visual cortex of young adult and aged cats. The results showed that there was no significant difference in the density of Nissl-stained neurons between young and old cats (P>0.05). However, the density of Glu-IR neurons and GABA-IR neurons in the primary visual cortex of aged cats was significantly lower than that of young ones (P<0.01). The ratio between Glu-IR neurons and GABA-IR neurons was significantly increased in old cats compared to that in young adult ones (P<0.01). These results indicated that the effect of excitatory transmitter system in the old visual cortex was increased relative to the inhibitory transmitter system, which might cause an imbalance between cortical excitation and inhibition and might be an important factor mediating the visual function decline during aging.