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Neuron. 1997 Oct;19(4):871-80.

Relationships between local synaptic connections and orientation domains in primary visual cortex.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Department of Neurobiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.


Combined optical imaging of ferret primary visual cortex in vivo and scanning laser photostimulation in brain slices were used to determine the spatial relationships between synaptic inputs onto individual neurons and the pattern of orientation columns. In the upper cortical layers, both excitatory and inhibitory inputs originated primarily from regions with orientation tuning similar to that of the recorded neurons; the shapes of the input tuning curves were indistinguishable. The orientation distributions of both types of inputs centered around the orientation of the recorded neurons, and no evidence for preferential cross-orientation inputs, either excitatory or inhibitory, was observed. These patterns of synaptic connectivity are most consistent with feedforward models for generation of orientation selectivity and are inconsistent with the patterns required by models based on cross-orientation inhibition.

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