Nov 20, 2003

Functionally distinct inhibitory neurons at the first stage of visual cortical processing

Nature Neuroscience
Judith A HirschFriedrich T Sommer


Here we explore inhibitory circuits at the thalamocortical stage of processing in layer 4 of the cat's visual cortex, focusing on the anatomy and physiology of the interneurons themselves. Our immediate aim was to explore the inhibitory mechanisms that contribute to orientation selectivity, perhaps the most dramatic response property to emerge across the thalamocortical synapse. The broader goal was to understand how inhibitory circuits operate. Using whole-cell recording in cats in vivo, we found that layer 4 contains two populations of inhibitory cells defined by receptive field class--simple and complex. The simple cells were selective for stimulus orientation, whereas the complex cells were not. Our observations help to explain how neurons become sensitive to stimulus orientation and maintain that selectivity as stimulus contrast changes. Overall, the work suggests that different sources of inhibition, either selective for specific features or broadly tuned, interact to provide appropriate representations of elements within the environment.

  • References28
  • Citations92


Mentioned in this Paper

Pattern Recognition, Visual
Neural Inhibition
Structure of Cortex of Kidney
Metabolic Inhibition
Entire Brodmann Areas 17 (Striate Cortex),18 (Parastriate Cortex) and 19 (Peristriate Cortex) of Occipital Lobe
Receptive Field
Cerebral Cortex

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