Segregation of ON and OFF afferents to ferret visual cortex

K. R. Zahs, M. P. Stryker

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ON-center and OFF-center cells are found in separate sublaminae of the ferret's lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN). The purpose of these experiments was to determine whether this segregation is maintained in the projection from the LGN to primary visual cortex (area 17). The distribution of the geniculocortical afferents within area 17 was studied by recording in layer IV after cortical neurons were silenced with kainic acid. In 28 radial penetrations made into layer IV of five kainate-treated ferrets, the center types of 289 single units with response characteristics identical to those of geniculate cells were noted. A Monte Carlo analysis of these data demonstrated that the geniculocortical afferents cluster according to center type. There was no tendency for ON and OFF afferents to occupy separate sublayers within layer IV. The organization of the afferents in the plane of layer IV was studied by making closely spaced electrode penetrations across the dorsal exposed surface of the cortex in three kainate-treated ferrets. A Monte Carlo analysis of these results demonstrated that afferents segregate on the basis of center type, as well as on the basis of ocular dominance, into patches in the plane of layer IV. The surface-mapping results and the results of experiments in which electrode penetrations were made tangential to layer IV indicated that center-type patches can extend over several hundred micrometers. A Monte Carlo analysis of the sizes of the ocular dominance patches and center-type patches provided further support for this conclusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1410-1429
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1988


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