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Nat Neurosci. 2000 Aug;3(8):807-13.

Neuronal mechanisms of selectivity for object features revealed by blocking inhibition in inferotemporal cortex.

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Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Osaka University Medical School, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan.


The inferotemporal cortex (area TE) of monkeys, a higher station of the visual information stream for object recognition, contains neurons selective for particular object features. Little is known about how and where this selectivity is generated. We show that blockade of inhibition mediated by gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) markedly altered the selectivity of TE neurons by augmenting their responses to some stimuli but not to others. The effects were observed for particular groups of stimuli related to the originally effective stimuli or those that did not originally excite the neurons but activated nearby neurons. Intrinsic neuronal interactions within area TE thus determine the final characteristic of their selectivity, and GABAergic inhibition contributes to this process.

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