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Brain Res. 2007 Mar 23;1138:111-28. Epub 2007 Jan 8.

The effects of reversible inactivation of postero-temporal visual cortex on neuronal activities in cat's area 17.

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Discipline of Anatomy and Histology and Bosch Institute, School of Medical Sciences, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.


'Spontaneous' and visually evoked action potentials were recorded from single neurons in cytoarchitectonic area 17 (striate cortex, area V1) of anaesthetized and immobilized cats, prior to, during and after brief reversible inactivation of the ipsilateral postero-temporal visual (PTV) cortex (presumed homologue of primate inferotemporal cortex). Inactivation of PTV cortex resulted: 1) in significant changes in the response magnitude (mostly a reduction) to optimal and/or sub-optimal visual stimuli in over 55% of area 17 cells and 2) significant changes (usually a reduction) in the 'spontaneous' (background) activity of about two-thirds of the cells in which inactivation of PTV cortex significantly affected the magnitude of responses to optimal stimuli. In over 85% of the significantly affected area 17 cells, rewarming PTV cortex to normal temperature (36 degrees C) resulted in the recovery of both the magnitude of responses and the background activity to levels not significantly different from pre-inactivation levels. Irrespective of the significance of changes in the magnitude of responses, in a substantial proportion of area 17 cells, inactivation of PTV cortex resulted in changes in some receptive field characteristics. Thus, there were substantial (20% or more) changes in orientation tuning widths (in over a quarter of the sample) and/or direction selectivity indices (in about a third of the sample). Thus, the feedback signals originating from PTV cortex, like signals originating from some other 'higher-order' visual cortical areas exert a clear modulatory influence on the responsiveness, background activity and some receptive field properties of neurons in the ipsilateral area 17.

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