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Vis Neurosci. 1998 Sep-Oct;15(5):979-93.

Responses of regular spiking and fast spiking cells in turtle visual cortex to light flashes.

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Department of Psychology, University of Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


Sharp electrodes were used to record light-evoked postsynaptic potentials (PSPs) from neurons in turtle visual cortex in an in vitro preparation of the geniculocortical pathway. Neurons were placed into four groups based on the firing patterns produced by intracellular current injections: regular spiking (RS), fast spiking (FS), intrinsic bursting (IB), and chattering (CH) cells. RS cells have been shown to be pyramidal cells while FS cells are typically interneurons. Light stimuli were diffuse, 1-s flashes of 640-nm light with intensities (I) varying from 0 to 10(4) photons microm(-2) s(-1). The response (R) in each case was the maximal amplitude of the light-evoked depolarizing PSP. Cells of all four types showed sigmoidal intensity-response (IR) functions with a linear rising phase for stimuli above the intensity threshold followed by saturation at high light intensities. Responses at high intensities were variable and some cells showed indications of supersaturation. Light-evoked PSPs had longer latencies and times-to-peak response in RS cells than they did in FS cells. RS cells fired action potentials as much as 200 ms later than did FS cells. Since responses recorded in RS cells at light intensities just above threshold are unlikely to involve contributions from other pyramidal cells, these data indicate that the geniculocortical or feedforward pathway to pyramidal cells has a high gain. The fact that FS cells fire well before RS cells suggests that feedforward inhibition plays a role in controlling the gain of the geniculocortical pathway.

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