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Neurosci Res. 2002 Jul;43(3):207-20.

Suppressive effects of receptive field surround on neuronal activity in the cat primary visual cortex.

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School of Health and Sport Sciences, Osaka University, Machikaneyama 1-17, Toyonaka, Japan.


Effects of sinusoidal grating stimulus presented outside the classical receptive field (CRF) on neuronal responses were studied in the primary visual cortex of anaesthetized cats. Among 101 cells electrophysiologically recorded, the predominant effect of the stimulus in the receptive field surround (SRF) was the suppression of responses to the CRF stimulation, and the SRF grating suppressed them up to 56% of the responses (44% suppression) to the CRF stimulus alone. The strong suppression was observed more often in layer II/III cells than in other layers and in complex cells more often than in simple cells. The modulatory effects by SRF stimulus might be enhanced by the cortical recurrent excitation particularly in the superficial layers. We also examined whether the modulation by the surround grating exhibits a differential effect according to the presence or absence of figure-ground segregation in the stimulus configuration. For this purpose, effects of stimulus configuration with orientation-, direction-contrast or relative spatial phase difference between CRF and SRF stimuli (figure-ground segregated configuration) were compared with those of uniform configuration of stimulus (non-segregated configuration). There was a population of cells, which exhibited significantly stronger suppression with non-segregated configuration than with figure-ground segregated configuration. Such differential modulation of response by the SRF stimulus in the primary visual cortex is a possible basis of perceptual figure-ground segregation.

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