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J Physiol. 1999 Jun 15;517 ( Pt 3):907-17.

Temporal contrast sensitivity in the lateral geniculate nucleus of a New World monkey, the marmoset Callithrix jacchus.

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Department of Physiology and Institute for Biomedical Research, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.


1. The temporal contrast sensitivity of koniocellular, parvocellular and magnocellular cells in the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) of nine adult marmosets was measured. The receptive fields of the cells were between 0.3 and 70 deg from the fovea. The stimulus was a large spatially uniform field which was modulated in luminance at temporal frequencies between 0.98 and 64 Hz. 2. For each cell group there was a gradual increase in modulation sensitivity, especially for temporal frequencies below 8 Hz, with increasing distance from the fovea. At any given eccentricity, magnocellular cells had the greatest sensitivity. In central visual field, the sensitivity of koniocellular cells lay between that of parvocellular and magnocellular cells. In peripheral visual field (above 10 deg eccentricity) koniocellular and parvocellular cells had similar sensitivity. 3. The contrast sensitivity of each cell class was dependent on the anaesthetic used. Cells from animals anaesthetized with isoflurane were less sensitive than cells from animals anaesthetized with sufentanil. This effect was more marked for temporal frequencies below 4 Hz. 4. These results are incompatible with the notion that the koniocellular pathway is functionally homologous to a sluggish, W-like pathway in other mammals. At least in terms of their temporal transfer properties, many koniocellular cells are more like parvocellular cells.

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