Long range interactions modulate the contrast gain in the lateral geniculate nucleus of cats

Felisberti, F.M. and Derrington, A.M (1999) Long range interactions modulate the contrast gain in the lateral geniculate nucleus of cats. Visual Neuroscience, 16(5), pp. 943-956. ISSN (print) 0952-5238


In previous work, we have shown that sudden image displacements well outside the classical receptive field modulate the visual sensitivity of LGN relay cells. Here we report the effect of image displacements on the response versus contrast function. The stimuli consisted of a central spot of optimal size and polarity (contrast range: 3–98%), flashed alone or in the presence of a peripheral annulus (radii: 5–15 deg) containing a low spatial-frequency grating displaced at saccade-like velocities (shift). The most consistent effect of the shift on the response to a central spot was to reduce the responsiveness of Y relay cells and, to a lesser extent, of X relay cells. The reduction in responsiveness was primarily a divisive rather than a subtractive effect and could be modelled by assuming that a greater contrast was required to produce a given excitatory response. In the absence of a central spot, remote motion had inhibitory effects on the firing rates of the majority of relay cells, but its effect on retinal ganglion cells was mainly excitatory. When the shifting grating covered the classical receptive field and its periphery, facilitatory effects or suppressive effects, depending on the spatial phase of the pattern, were observed in both retinal and geniculate cells. Remote motion strongly suppresses the responsiveness of relay cells to stimuli within the classical receptive field. This suppressive effect involves intrageniculate processing and is primarily associated with a reduction in contrast gain. It is likely that shift suppression contributes to the loss of visual sensitivity observed in saccadic suppression.

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