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J Neurosci. 1990 Jul;10(7):2223-37.

Color and contrast sensitivity in the lateral geniculate body and primary visual cortex of the macaque monkey.

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Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.


We tested color and contrast sensitivity in the magnocellular and parvocellular subdivisions of the lateral geniculate body and in layers 2, 3, 4B, and 4C alpha of visual area 1 to obtain physiological data on the degree of segregation of the 2 pathways and on the fate of the color and contrast information as it is transmitted from the geniculate to the cortex. On average, magnocellular geniculate cells were much less responsive than parvocellular cells to shifts between 2 equiluminant colors. Nevertheless, many magnocellular cells (though not all) continued to give some response at equiluminance. As expected from previous studies, luminance contrast sensitivity differed markedly between magnocellular and parvocellular layers. In V-1, the properties of cells in the magnorecipient layers 4C alpha and 4B faithfully reflected the properties of magnocellular geniculate cells, showing no evidence of any parvocellular input. Like magnocellular geniculate cells, they showed high contrast sensitivity, and with color contrast stimuli they showed large response decrements at equiluminance. In the interblob regions of cortical layers 2 and 3, which anatomically appear to receive most of their inputs from parvorecipient layer 4C beta, contrast sensitivities of some of the cells were compatible with a predominantly parvocellular input. Other interblob cells had sensitivities intermediate between magno- and parvocellular geniculate cells, suggesting a possible contribution from the magnocellular system. Many cells in cortical layers 2 and 3 responded to color-contrast borders equally well at all relative brightnesses of the 2 colors, including equiluminance. We recorded from many direction- and disparity-selective cells in V-1: most of the direction-selective and all of the clearly stereo-selective cells were located in layer 4B.

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