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J Neurophysiol. 1977 Mar;40(2):410-27.

Organization of visual inputs to interneurons of lateral geniculate nucleus of the cat.


1. Two groups of interneurons that are involved in the organization of the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) are described. The cell bodies of one group lie within the LGN; these units are referred to as intrageniculate. The cell bodies of the other group are found immediately above the LGN at its border with the perigeniculate nucleus; these units are referred to as perigeniculate. 2. Intrageniculate interneurons have center-surround receptive fields that resemble those of relay (principal) cells. They can be subdivided into brisk or sluggish and sustained or transient categories. They are stimulated transsynaptically from the visual cortex and have a characteristic variation in the latency of their spike response to such stimulation both at threshold and for suprathreshold stimuli. The pathway for this stimulation appears to be via cortical efferents to the LGN. Intrageniculate interneurons receive direct, monosynaptic retinal inputs, as determined by recording simultaneously from such interneurons and from the ganglion cells which provide excitatory input to them. Similar to relay cells, they are shown to have one or two major ganglion cell inputs. 3. Perigeniculate interneurons are generally binocularly innervated and give on-off responses to small spot stimuli throughout their receptive field. They respond well to rapid movement of large targets. They respond to electrical stimulation of the retina with a spike latency that falls between that of brisk transient and brisk sustained relay cells. This latency is one synaptic delay longer than that of brisk transient relay cell activation and suggests that they are excited by axon collaterals of these relay cells. Electrical stimulation of the visual cortex is also consistent with this model; the latency of the response of perigeniculate interneurons is approximately one synaptic delay longer than the latency of the response of brisk transient relay cells. 4. The interneuronal pathways described are consistent with proposed circuits that subserve the generation of IPSPs that arise in response to optic nerve and visual cortical stimulation. We now show that such inhibition has feed-forward (intrageniculate) and feed-back (perigeniculate) components that are mediated by two different classes of geniculate interneurons. It is suggested that the intrageniculate interneurons are involved in precise, spatially organized inhibition and that the perigeniculate interneurons are part of a more general, diffuse inhibitory system that modulates LGN excitability.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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