Low response variability in simultaneously recorded retinal, thalamic, and cortical neurons

Prakash Kara, Pamela Reinagel, R. Clay Reid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

246 Scopus citations

Abstract

The response of a cortical cell to a repeated stimulus can be highly variable from one trial to the next. Much lower variability has been reported of retinal cells. We recorded visual responses simultaneously from three successive stages of the cat visual system: retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), thalamic (LGN) relay cells, and simple cells in layer 4 of primary visual cortex. Spike count variability was lower than that of a Poisson process at all three stages but increased at each stage. Absolute and relative refractory periods largely accounted for the reliability at all three stages. Our results show that cortical responses can be more reliable than previously thought. The differences in reliability in retina, LGN, and cortex can be explained by (1) decreasing firing rates and (2) decreasing absolute and relative refractory periods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)635-646
Number of pages12
JournalNeuron
Volume27
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000

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