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J Physiol. 1985 Dec;369:249-68.

A comparison of visual responses of cat lateral geniculate nucleus neurones with those of ganglion cells afferent to them.


We compared visual responses of cat lateral geniculate nucleus (l.g.n.) neurones with those of retinal ganglion cells providing their afferent inputs. Quantitative studies were made on twenty such pairs; eight X on-centre, seven Y on-centre, two X off-centre and three Y off-centre pairs. Receptive field centre locations of cell pairs with correlated activities were very closely superimposed, having a mean centre displacement of 1.6 minutes of arc for X cells and 11 minutes of arc for Y cells. With flashed spots and annuli, responses of l.g.n. cells were almost always smaller than those of their retinal afferents, with peaks and troughs in ganglion cell responses being faithfully followed in the geniculate neurones. This is consistent with almost all impulses from the l.g.n. cell being triggered by the afferent feeding its centre. With spots of different sizes and contrasts, modulation of responses by l.g.n. inhibition was obvious, but effects were complex. With moving bright-bar stimuli, although response histograms were clearly reshaped to some extent in the l.g.n., peak firing rates under different stimulus conditions were often merely attenuated by a constant factor for most l.g.n. cells in comparison with their retinal inputs. For velocity tuning curves, a few cell pairs showed selective attenuation at high speeds, while others showed it at low speeds. All the latter group appeared to have more than one major excitatory afferent. These changes in velocity tuning occurred across the X/Y classification, so that differences in velocity preference of the X and Y systems is more blurred in the l.g.n. than in the retina.

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