Function and interaction of on and off transients in vision. II. Neurophysiology


Singer W & Phillips W (1974) Function and interaction of on and off transients in vision. II. Neurophysiology. Experimental Brain Research, 19 (5), pp. 507-521.

Neuronal responses to interruptions of light stimuli were studied in 58 X-type and 7 Y-type LGN relay cells with intra- and extracellular recording techniques. The responses to interruption were then compared with responses to either appearing or disappearing light stimuli which had the same luminance and size as the interrupted stimulus. The extent to which responses to interruption differed from those to appearance and disappearance was studied as a function of the interstimulus interval (ISI), the duration of the stimulus before the interruption (t1) and after the interruption (t2). Responses to stimuli appearing after interruptions of up to 500 msec were weaker than those to appearance and disappearance. This difference decreased with increasing ISI. The difference between responses to appearance and interruption increased as t2 decreased, and decreased as t1 decreased. The reverse was true for the difference between responses to disappearance and interruption. Stimulation of the mesencephalic reticular formation consistently reduced the difference between responses to appearance and disappearance compared with those to interruption for all stimulus conditions. These results are discussed in the context of the psychophysical study presented in the preceding paper. It is shown that the neuronal reactions are reflected in detail by the ability of humans to detect appearances and disappearances that occur during interruptions. EPSP sequences recorded from LGN relay cells and relay cell responses conditioned by reticular stimulation suggest that the differentiation of responses to interruption and change partially occurs already in the retina. This differentiation is subsequently enhanced by antagonistic inhibition in the LGN. It is proposed that these inhibitory interactions at peripheral sites of the visual pathway store visual information and serve to reduce the redundancy of responses to short interruptions of the visual input. Centrifugal modulation of LGN inhibition is proposed to control the trade off between temporal integration and temporal resolution.

Cat; LGN; Transients; Antagonistic inhibition; Sensory storage

Experimental Brain Research: Volume 19, Issue 5

Publication date31/03/1974