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J Neurophysiol. 1992 Jul;68(1):144-63.

Organization of suppression in receptive fields of neurons in cat visual cortex.

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School of Optometry, University of California, Berkeley 94720.


1. The response to an optimally oriented stimulus of both simple and complex cells in the cat's striate visual cortex (area 17) can be suppressed by the superposition of an orthogonally oriented drifting grating. This effect is referred to as cross-orientation suppression. We have examined the spatial organization and tuning characteristics of this suppressive effect with the use of extracellular recording techniques. 2. For a total of 75 neurons, we have measured the size of each cell's excitatory receptive field by use of rectangular patches of drifting sinusoidal gratings presented at the optimal orientation and spatial frequency. The length and width of these grating patches are varied independently. Receptive-field length and width are determined from the dimensions of the smallest grating patch required to elicit a maximal response. 3. The extent of the area from which cross-orientation suppression originates has been measured in an analogous manner. Each neuron is excited by a patch of drifting grating the same size as the receptive field. The response to this stimulus is modulated by a superimposed patch of grating having an orthogonal orientation. After selecting the spatial frequency that produces maximal suppression, the response of each cell is examined as a function of the length and width of the orthogonal (suppressive) grating patch. Results from 29 cells show that the dimensions of the orthogonal grating patch required to elicit maximal suppression are similar to, or smaller than, the dimensions of the excitatory receptive field. Thus cross-orientation suppression originates from within the receptive field. 4. For some cells the spatial frequency tuning of the suppressive effect is much broader than the spatial frequency tuning for excitation. In these cases it is possible to find a spatial frequency that produces suppression but not excitation. With the use of a suppressive stimulus having this spatial frequency, we examined the strength of suppression as a function of orientation for 11 cells. These tests show that suppression occurs at all orientations, including the preferred orientation for excitation. In some cases, suppression is somewhat stronger at the preferred orientation for excitation than at any other orientation. 5. For 12 cells we varied the relative spatial phase between the optimally oriented and orthogonal gratings. In all cases the magnitude of suppression is largely independent of the relative spatial phase. 6. For three binocular cells we examined whether the suppressive effect of a grating oriented orthogonal to the optimum could be mediated dichoptically.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

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