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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1989 Mar;86(5):1698-702.

Stimulus-specific neuronal oscillations in orientation columns of cat visual cortex.

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Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt am Main, Federal Republic of Germany.


In areas 17 and 18 of the cat visual cortex the firing probability of neurons, in response to the presentation of optimally aligned light bars within their receptive field, oscillates with a peak frequency near 40 Hz. The neuronal firing pattern is tightly correlated with the phase and amplitude of an oscillatory local field potential recorded through the same electrode. The amplitude of the local field-potential oscillations are maximal in response to stimuli that match the orientation and direction preference of the local cluster of neurons. Single and multiunit recordings from the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus of the thalamus showed no evidence of oscillations of the neuronal firing probability in the range of 20-70 Hz. The results demonstrate that local neuronal populations in the visual cortex engage in stimulus-specific synchronous oscillations resulting from an intracortical mechanism. The oscillatory responses may provide a general mechanism by which activity patterns in spatially separate regions of the cortex are temporally coordinated.

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