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Vis Neurosci. 1995 Jul-Aug;12(4):621-8.

Dynamics of the orientation tuning of postsynaptic potentials in the cat visual cortex.

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Department of Neurobiology, Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen-Nikolausberg, Germany.


We evaluated the dynamic aspects of the orientation tuning of the input to cat visual cortical neurons by analyzing the postsynaptic potentials (PSPs) evoked by flashing bars of light. The PSPs were recorded using in vivo whole-cell technique, and we analyzed the orientation tuning during subsequent temporal windows after stimulus onset and offset. Our results show that the amplitudes of the postsynaptic potential are reliably tuned to orientation and matching that of the spike responses only during certain temporal windows. During the first 100 ms after stimulus presentation, orientation tuning of the membrane potential underwent regular changes. Within particular intervals, orientation tuning of the input was much sharper than that estimated according to the whole response. In most cells, optimal orientation was usually stable over the whole period. In several cells which had a second hump of EPSPs in the response, this second hump was tuned to the same orientation as the first one, but always showed sharper tuning. Estimation of the integration time revealed sufficient delay between the appearance of EPSPs and spikes, to let inhibition influence spike generation. These results show that orientation selectivity of the input to cortical cells is a dynamic function, and also indicate the possibility of temporal coding in the visual system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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