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Vis Neurosci. 1998 Jan-Feb;15(1):27-35.

Thalamic control of cat area-18 supragranular layers: simple cells, complex cells, and cells projecting to the lateral suprasylvian visual area.

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Department of Psychology, University of Illinois, Champaign 61820, USA.


The goal of this study was to determine the effects of inactivating layer A or the C layers of the cat lateral geniculate nucleus on the supragranular layers of area 18, including cells antidromically activated from the lateral suprasylvian visual area (LS). Isolated cells were visually driven via the contralateral eye while the retinotopically corresponding regions of layer A or, in some cases, the C layers were reversibly inactivated with injections of cobaltous chloride. Simple cells were frequently encountered and were on average more dependent upon layer A than were complex cells, a result qualitatively similar to that found previously in area 17 (Malpeli, 1983; Malpeli et al., 1986). However, the influence of the C layers on area 18 was much more apparent than for area 17. In area 18, as in area 17, the dependence of simple cells on particular geniculate layers appears to follow the terminal patterns of the major direct geniculate inputs. Those simple cells most dependent on layer A were located in lower layer 3. Simple cells in upper layer 3, like complex cells, showed little dependence on layer A, but were strongly dependent upon the C layers. All cells antidromically activated from LS were simple cells with rapidly conducting axons. They had, on average, the same moderately strong dependence on layer A as the patches of LS receiving area 18 input (Lee et al., 1997), supporting the conclusion that the influence of layer A in these patches is largely transmitted via association inputs from area 18. These results demonstrate that simple cells play a major role in association pathways.

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